After a six-month pilot project, authorities in Hanoi officially opened six more pedestrian zones in its famous Old Quarter on Friday to serve local people and foreign visitors in an effort to allow local artisans, households, and enterprises to better tap the old streets’ tourism.
The walking streets include Hang Buom, Ma May, Hang Giay, Luong Ngoc Quyen, Ta Hien and Dao Duy Tu located in Hoan Kiem District.
Pedestrian-only hours start from 7:00 pm to 12:00 pm in the summer and from 6:00 pm to 12:00 pm in the winter every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
These six streets are among the pedestrian zones to be preserved for retaining much of their antiquity. The three other walking streets in the Old Quarter are Hang Dao, Hang Duong, and Dong Xuan.
Unlike the Hang Dao, Hang Duong and Dong Xuan, peddling on the roadbeds of the new six walking streets is strictly forbidden. Peddlers and shop owners along these six can do their business on the sidewalk only.
Among the six walking streets, Ta Hien, dubbed the city’s “international intersection,” is invariably packed with foreign tourists and expats, particularly in the evening.
Hoan Kiem District’s 2013 statistics show that the city’s Old Quarter had the population of some 10,000, most of whom depend on tourism service provision for their livelihood.
Roughly 240 households in the area run shops, including 100 restaurants and eateries.
Houses built in the 18th and 19th centuries as well as several cultural, historical relics including Bach Ma, Quan De, Huong Tuong, Kim Ngan and Dong Lac Temples now line these streets, which are generally frequented by foreigners.
A local company has installed decorative lights and high pressure lights along the six streets and improved the lighting system at the relics located alongside.
Local government has also licensed seven parking lots measuring some 648m² in total in the Old Quarter. Tourists can also park their bikes at 12 other official lots which have been in use for the Hang Dao, Hang Duong and Dong Xuan walking streets.