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Hoi An Inches Closer to 'Bicycle Town' Goal With New Pedestrian-Only Street

Another major street in Hoi An has been approved to become a walking plaza in the future.

As Tuoi Tre reports, the Hoi An City People’s Committee recently greenlit a proposal to make Phan Chu Trinh Street pedestrian-only at certain times of the day, 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. Under this effort, motorbikes will be restricted on streets popular with tourists, while a public bike scheme will be developed to provide an alternative means of transportation.

“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 the 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.

Previously, many areas in the ancient town have seen similar bans, with plans going into place on Nguyen Phuc Chu Street in 2015 and Tran Phu, Nguyen Hue and Cong Nu Ngoc Hoa streets in 2017. In these sections, motorized vehicles are kept out from 9am to 11am and 3pm to 9:30pm.

Businesses along the street have taken the news of the motorbike ban well. “When motorcycles are prohibited, tourists will walk more and therefore linger at shops longer,” Nguyen Thi Hoang, the owner of a bánh mì stand on Phan Chu Trinh, explained to Tuoi Tre. “It’s not only quieter and safer, but also more conducive for commerce.”

As tourism is one of Hoi An’s major economic pillars, the city is serious about maintaining and improving its image in the eyes of visitors. In September, officials launched an investigation into a local coffee shop after posts surfaced online accusing its owner of discriminatory treatment against Asian patrons.

[Photo by Flickr user Chris Hoare]

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