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Saigoneers Should Walk More to Reduce Pollution, Traffic Congestion: City Official

After unveiling a plan for river bus services, Saigon officials are encouraging the southern hub’s residents to ease traffic congestion by walking to school or work if their destination is within three kilometers.

According to Tuoi Tre, despite some initial concerns at a recent meeting, held by the city’s deputy chairman Le Van Khoa, the proposal was met with full support. Khoa said that apart from improving residents’ health, walking would help to reduce transportation costs, traffic congestion and air pollution.

However, some delegates at the meeting cited additional issues the city would need to address should the proposal be implemented. Nguyen Van Danh, deputy director of the Department of Construction, pointed out that most of the city’s sidewalks are occupied by street stalls or privatized for parking spaces. He went on to suggest that sidewalks should be cleared first before carrying out the proposal, reports the news source.

Deputy Director of the Municipal Department of Education and Training Bui Thi Diem Huong also added that walking could be inconvenient for female teachers, who have to wear áo dài to work, and parents might feel uncomfortable letting their children walk to school due to the risk of robbery or kidnapping. Other delegates also recommended reducing the walking distance to one or two kilometers.

Moving forward, Khoa ordered the Department of Transport to review the success of District 1’s new sidewalk barriers after complaints that the metal barricades are ineffective and inconvenient for pedestrians. He also suggested that 50% of schools in Saigon should provide bus services to transport students in 2017.

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