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Hà Nội seeks to protect sidewalks from drivers

Update: December, 19/2017 - 09:00
Pavement is encroached for business or parking in Hà Nội. In streets, motorbikes and cars event climb onto sidewalks to seek an alternative route during traffic jams has been common in Hà Nội for years. — VNA/VNS Photo An Thành Đạt
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Following HCM City’s lead, Hà Nội authorities are installing fences along sidewalks in a pilot programme to prevent vehicles from encroaching them.

The sight of motorbikes and cars climbing onto sidewalks to seek an alternative route during traffic jams has been common in Hà Nội for years. It not only endangers pedestrians but also destroys sidewalks which are not designed for vehicles.

Fences have been erected along sidewalks on some streets in downtown Hà Nội like Tôn Đức Thắng, Nguyễn Thái Học, Ngọc Hồi, Lê Duẩn, and Đại Cổ Việt over the past year. The measure aims to protect pedestrians and ensure traffic order.

Nghiêm Ngọc Trâm, a resident living near Nguyễn Thái Học Street told Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper that since the fences were installed, cars and motorbikes were unable to climb over the sidewalks around Văn Miếu Quốc Tử Giám (The Temple of Literature).  

“My family totally supports the plan. Thanks to the fences, we feel more secure when kids and old people use the sidewalks as we don’t need to worry that motorbikes and cars will hit them,” she said.

Nguyễn Hoàng Hải, an expert on urban traffic said the installation of barriers to separate sidewalks from roads is a feasible measure to solve the problem.

“In some streets where the measure was adopted like Lê Duẩn or Văn Miếu, the result has been positive. The walking space was protected, creating the feeling of safety and comfort for pedestrians,” he said.

In a Hà Nội People’s Council Q&A session on December 6, deputy Nguyễn Huy Được proposed the same measure to restore sidewalk order.

However, some people warned that if the plan is expanded, some issues need to be taken into account.

Lê Dũng, a resident of Tôn Đức Thắng street told Kinh tế&Đô Thị (Economic&Urban Affairs) newspaper that the fences have caused obstacles for some people.

“In some places, the space between fences is not enough for a wheelchair user to get through. Some shops along the street also face difficulties as the barriers stop their customers accessing the shop and parking their vehicles,” he said.

Đinh Quốc Thái, an expert on urban traffic said fences should not be installed on busy trading streets as it would harm people’s businesses which are their means of living.

“People would oppose the plan and even remove the fences themselves while authorities could hardly control it,” he said.

He suggested fences be installed on sidewalks mostly serving pedestrians or those near cultural spaces.

The installation should also be carefully considered so that the barricades do not obstruct wheelchairs and baby strollers, he said.

An alternative measure to replace fences is to increase the height of the sidewalk’s edge so vehicles cannot climb them, he added.

Nguyễn Hoàng Hải agreed that this is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

There should be city-wide surveys to decide which streets are suitable and which are not.

On streets where fences are not the solution, authorities can install cameras to record violations and later apply strict punishments, he said. — VNS

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