Hoi An in Central Vietnam is slowly but surely converting streets in the city centre only for pedestrians and cyclers. It follows a project launched in 2018 with the support of Germany to turn the town into an urban model of sustainability.
The project to establish a bicycle network to make transport more sustainable is funded by the German government with VND 1.4 billion- equivalent to US$605,000 as the city won an award for transformative urban mobility solutions organized by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
While pilot experiences for commuters to foster the use of bicycles in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hoi An, only the latter has seen a successful feedback. In HCMC and Hanoi, locals continue to favour motorcycles.
“It would be delusional to think that bicycles can replace motor vehicles in large cities such as Hanoi and HCMC, but it would be realistic to build up networks on a small or medium scale in certain areas,” Nguyen Minh Hoa from the HCMC University of Social Sciences and Humanities told VietnamNet.
Hoi AN has been however closing many streets to any motor vehicles including motorbikes while favouring a public bike scheme to support visitors and locals who are looking for an easy mean of transportation. The Hoi An City People’s Committee recently announced its intention to turn Phan Chu Trinh Street into a pedestrian area, starting from next year. The street is one of the town’s most popular tourist attractions, home to scores of shops, eateries and souvenir shops, including the famed Banh Mi Phuong and Ba Buoi Chicken Rice. The initiative is part of a major municipal project to extend current walking areas with a vision to make the entire city motor-free. .
“The area of Hoi An is limited so commutes are within close proximity. Moreover, in an ancient town, bike-riding will make the city less polluted and more elegant,” Nguyen Van Son, vice chairman of the People’s Committee, told to a local newspaper.
If things go according to plan, the motorbike ban on Phan Chu Trinh will start from March 1, 2020 and last from 6pm to 9:30pm, with the time extended to 10pm during summer. Exactly a year later, on March 1, 2021, the daily ban will begin at 3pm.