Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — The administration of HCM City’s District 1 has sought the People’s Committee’s approval to make the whole of Bùi Viện Street in the heart of the ‘backpacker area’ a walking-only street on weekend evenings.
According to local authorities, the stretch of the street open only to pedestrians between 7pm and 2am during weekends often gets 600 – 1,000 visitors on those evenings, but is not long enough now, a handicap especially during festivals.
It is pedestrian-only between Trần Hưng Đạo and Đỗ Quang Đẩu streets, and authorities now want to ban vehicles on the entire street until Cống Quỳnh Street, and the whole Đỗ Quang Đẩu Street.
There will be enough parking space for vehicles around the area even after the expansion.
The District 1 People’s Committee believes lengthening the walking-only stretch will increase revenues, including taxes, from tourism activities, and local residents would benefit.
Since it became a walking-only street come in August 20,000 visitors are estimated to have visited, and tax collection has increased by 15 per cent.
Street residents have been asked twice for their opinion on the expansion, with 386 out of 458 agreeing the last time.
The district is also seeking permission to make the street walking-only also on Friday evening, and 322 residents agreed.
Authorities have promised to increase patrolling by police officers to ensure order and security at night on the street.
The expansion is expected to take effect on February 10 since local authorities are hopeful the proposal will get approval.
Vendors are allowed to display their merchandise on the pavement.
Stages have been put up at either end of the street for live performances of Vietnamese folk songs and international music.
Besides, there is free Wi-Fi, public toilets and other tourist amenities.
Bùi Viện is popular with foreign visitors for its cheap beer and numerous eateries, cafes, clothing stores, and souvenir shops in the morning and afternoon and restaurants, bars, and pubs in the evening.
Some 349 businesses are operating on Bùi Viện, Nguyễn Thị Thu Hương, vice chairwoman of District 1, said.
Designating specialised streets is an emerging trend in the city that appeals to visitors.
In 2015 Nguyễn Huệ Boulevard became the first pedestrians-only street, and is extremely popular with both locals and tourists at weekends.
Nguyễn Văn Bình, a book street, also has many admirers.
HCM City is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting six million foreign tourists last year after increasing by nearly 23 per cent from 2016. — VNS