|A traffic jam in Nguyen Trai Road, Ha Noi. A large number of new vehicles on the road are exerting pressure on the city's traffic. — Photo tienphong.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Efforts to ease traffic congestion, particularly during rush hours, in Ha Noi seem to have gone nowhere.
A large number of new vehicles on the road are exerting pressure on the city's traffic, according to a local policeman.
"On average, there are 19,000 new vehicles on the road each month, adding to traffic congestion, which is already ‘like a tight shirt'," said the head of the Ha Noi police's traffic police division, colonel Dao Vinh Thang.
Individual transport is rapidly increasing, reported the division. In the first eight months of the year 143,000 new motorbikes and 39,000 new automobiles were registered. This raised the total number vehicles in the city to 5.5 million, excluding cars and motorbikes registered in other localities.
Nearly 210,000 cars and more than 2.1 million motorbikes were newly-registered nation-wide during this period of time.
In addition, as many as 25 under-construction traffic projects with 43 road blocks are hindering traffic flow, including the elevated rail routes connecting Cat Linh street and Ha Dong District's Yen Nghia bus station, and Nhon T-junction in Tu Liem District with Ha Noi train station, Ring Road No.1, and Ring Road No. 2.
"Ha Noi and HCM City are facing a steep rise in vehicles, for which traffic infrastructure cannot satisfy," said the head of the traffic safety department Nguyen Van Thach.
"Quite a few key roads in these two big cities are partly blocked with barricades for infrastructure construction, slowing traffic flow," he told the online VnExpress newspaper.
The official said that once the two elevated railway projects are completed by 2018 the traffic situation should improve.
"By then, the city should slow the increase of personal vehicles and encourage people to use public transport," Thach said.
"In the short term, Ha Noi should reduce the number of newly-registered private cars by increasing some taxes and registration fees as recommended by HCM City," he added.
Deputy chairman of the Viet Nam automobile transportation association, Than Van Thanh said the traffic jams demonstrated that transport management by municipal authorities was ineffective.
"Additionally, the slow-paced implementation of traffic projects, lack of traffic signs, and poorly-managed organisation of traffic routes are hindering traffic flow," he told the Voice of Viet Nam.
In regard to the increase of vehicles, Thanh said "the rise of private-owned vehicles is natural."
If the state wanted to decrease individual vehicles it was necessary to develop public transport to better serve people's travel needs, Thanh said.
"No one wants to use private vehicles if public transport facilities are available," said Thanh, adding that local administration should recognise the importance of urban management.
Traffic woes in HCMC
In the meanwhile, the increasing number of apartments and the resultant increase in the number of private vehicles is choking many of HCM City's entry points, authorities have said.
The Cong Hoa-Truong Chinh flyover improved things for a short period but the area is congested again as people flock from Cu Chi, Hoc Mon, Binh Chanh, Go Vap, Tan Binh, and Tan Phu districts to the city every day.
Similarly, congestion is at alarming levels at the Nguyen Van Linh-Nguyen Huu Tho and Nguyen Luong Bang – Nguyen Thi Thap intersections in District 7.
On several bridges over the Ben Nghe-Tau Hu Canal linking districts 4 and 8 with district 1 and 5 — like Kenh Te, Nguyen Van Cu, and Y – traffic is often stuck during peak hours.
The Department of Transport assigned a major part of the blame for the worsening situation to the many new apartments coming up at entry points to reduce prices but still offer easy access to the downtown area.
The department should study traffic density on major streets and keeping lane directions and sizes fluid at different times depending on the traffic in a particular direction, Pham Sanh, a traffic expert, was quoted as saying by Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper.
He called for eradicating illegal road and pavement encroachment, keeping buses off congested places during peak hours and not allowing people to wait on the street in front of schools to pick up children.
Another reason for traffic congestion is road construction. However, in many places, even after construction stalls due to lack of funds, roads that were dug up are not returned to their old state. — VNS