Hà Nội should adopt wider vision, says architect

Update: January, 07/2021 - 08:19


 Architect Đào Ngọc Nghiêm. — Photo

 Architect Đào Ngọc Nghiêm, former director-general of the Hà Nội Department of Planning and Architecture, talks to Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper about his suggestions on how to solve the problem of heavy traffic in central Hà Nội

Though Hà Nội authorities have introduced quite a few measures to help ease the city’s traffic jam problems, things have not been improved much. What are the problems behind this?

Recently, the Hà Nội Department of Transport has come up with five groups of measures with a hope to help ease the city’s traffic jam. Yet, these measures are only temporary and they can’t solve the root cause of the problem.

Firstly, all Hà Nội planning and resolutions which have adopted from 1998 until now have stated clearly that the city needs at least 20-25 per cent of its land for transport projects. Yet, all projects have been behind schedule. And to date, land allocated for transport development has met about 10 per cent of the requirement.

Meanwhile, the volume of individual transport means in the city has increased rapidly. In 2020, Hà Nội had more than 7 million types of transport means, of which cars reached a staggering number of 800,000. Though the city authorities have adopted quite many measures to curtail the number of individual cars entering the inner city, things have moved very slowly.

Secondly, Hà Nội’s plan for transport development is not really rational and thirdly, public transport has not been good enough to attract people to use it.

Fourth, the city’s transport management has failed to solve the big problem of traffic jams in the inner city in rush hours.

Finally, Hà Nội’s law has not been strictly implemented to its letter to focus efforts on developing satellite cities to decrease the number of people living in the inner city. In addition, Hà Nội authorities should have focused their efforts on developing outlying areas to ease the heavy flow of people trying to move to the inner city to live and find jobs there.

How do you respond to Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng’s warning that Hà Nội’s infrastructure will soon fail to meet the rapid development of the population?

We cannot deny that Hà Nội’s infrastructure development has failed to meet the fast development of individual means of transport. In the long run, Hà Nội should think of a plan to ban motorbikes from entering the inner city while all cars entering the inner city must pay fees. This is food for thought for city authorities and they should develop a plan on constructing more car parks in the city’s outlying areas.

If Hà Nội authorities will be able to develop a model of five satellite cities which are sitting on some 20,000 hectares with a population of about 1.4 million people, I’m pretty sure these satellite cities will release a big burden on Hà Nội's inner city.

What special policies do Hà Nội authorities need to quickly develop the five satellite cities?

The Capital Law which was adopted 10 years ago already has an idea of developing five satellite cities. Yet, until now only the Láng Hòa Lạc zone was approved by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc last July. Meanwhile, the land planning development of the four other satellite cities Sơn Tây, Xuân Mai, Phú Xuyên and Sóc Sơn has not yet been approved by Hà Nội authorities.

Recently, the Hà Nội Party Committee decided to make efforts for the development of the Láng Hòa Hi-Tech zone and the university village there. Yet, in their plan, the Hà Nội Party Committee didn’t talk about the development of residential areas surrounding the Láng Hòa Lac Hi-Tech zone. This is food for thought for the Hà Nội authorities and they should learn a lesson from Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur.

Last but not least, Hà Nội authorities should also make more efforts for the city’s work of planning while adopting more attractive policies on land and taxes to attract investors to develop more satellite cities. — VNS