Saigon Gets Pedestrian

2020 will mark the completion of Ho Chi Minh City first underground rail line. An opportunity to turn parts of the city centre into a pedestrian area, one of the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia.

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) city centre might look messy due to the ongoing construction of the MRT. With three underground stations in the city centre being developed as part of HCMC first Underground Rail Line, pedestrians and cars are having a challenging time around Saigon iconic Opera House and soon at Ben Thanh Market, the future transportation hub of a network of three to four underground lines.

But at least, there has been a positive development following the digging of Saigon’s underground: the development of pedestrian zones, a planning that cities such as Bangkok or Jakarta could only dream of…

Since the middle of the year, Nguyen Hue Boulevard, the main street linking Saigon River to the City Hall has been partially transformed into a pedestrian area with fountains, trees and spaces for artists. The upgrade requested a total investment of US$23.58 million project and took six months to complete.
The phase covers an area that is 670 meters long and 60.6 meters wide, bounded by Le Loi and Ton Duc Thang Streets.

Next phase is the transformation of Le Loi Street, the thoroughfare linking the Opera House to Nguyen Hue Boulevard as well as Dong Khoi Street. The latter used to be during the French Colonial Time and has been for long a favourite shopping and walking precinct for all. The elegant street with its colonial architecture is due to be partially pedestrianised and upgraded while a pedestrian bridge is being built across the River to link the city centre to the Cruise Port and the Ho Chi Minh Museum hosted in the ‘Dragon House’ (Nha Rong), the former customs house built by the French authorities in 1863.

With the MRT first line completed by 2020 and its pedestrian zone in the city centre, Saigon is turning into a sophisticated cosmopolitan urban centre, equivalent to other Asian metropolises…