Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — More pedestrian zones around Hoàn Kiếm (Sword) Lake, the iconic landmark of the capital, will open on Thursday, according to a pilot plan that was announced at a recent municipal People’s Committee meeting.
Streets that will be closed to traffic on weekends include Đinh Tiên Hoàng, Lê Thái Tổ, Hàng Khay, Hàng Bài, Tràng Tiền, Đinh Lễ, Nguyễn Xí, Lê Lai, Lê Thạch, Trần Nguyên Hãn, Hàng Dầu, Lò Sũ, Lương Văn Can and Bảo Khánh.
Đinh Hồng Phong, vice chairman of Hoàn Kiếm District’s People’s Committee, said the expansion of walking areas will significantly contribute to preserving and promoting the cultural values and tourism potential of the thousand-year-old capital.
He also added that Hoàn Kiếm District is making great efforts to build beautiful pedestrian zones. Preparations will be under way in the days ahead, including attention to parking lots, traffic control, lighting and flower decorations.
According to the plan, a variety of cultural, tourism and service activities will take place along the walking streets to meet demand for recreation, like photo exhibitions, dragon dancing, performances of traditional musical instruments and traditional singing.
At the same time, artists and artisans will have the chance to showcase their skills, like writing calligraphy or creating toy figurines.
The streets will be closed to traffic from 7pm to 2am in summer, and 6pm to 2am in winter on Friday through Sunday and on some holidays.
On the inauguration day, which coincides with the capital’s Liberation Day on September 2, the walking zones will be open on Thursday night, September 1, until the end of Sunday, September 4.
The new walking zones that run around Sword Lake and the vicinity will be connected with walking zones in the Hàng Đào-Đồng Xuân shopping area and on six other streets in the Old Quarters that are home to centuries-old houses and relics.
“As a foreigner who loves Hoàn Kiếm area, the expansion of its pedestrian areas is welcome news,” said Hong Miso, a Korean tourist. “This decision would attract more customers to the area. On weekends, instead of vehicles, you can fully enjoy lots of promotions of cultures, souvenirs and also lots of performances, which will definitely give visitors a good impression.”
She added, “I can’t wait to enjoy the streets with fewer motorbikes.”
However, some locals are concerned about some aspects of the plan.
“It is a great idea, but the area around Sword Lake has a high population density, so traffic is the most serious problem,” said Nguyễn Xuân Huyền, an official in the city.
“Therefore, it requires lots of parking places with reasonable prices and more tightened control methods to get rid of other arising problems like thieves or illegal peddlers within the pilot period.” — VNS