Multiple streets across Ho Chi Minh City do not have the luxury of sidewalks as local homes were built close to the road, creating immense challenges for pedestrians.
Statistics from the municipal People’s Committee show that about 2,598 streets throughout the city do not include any paved area, many of which are located in central business neighborhoods such as District 1 and District 3.
Houses along these roads were built immediately adjacent to the roadways, leaving no choice for pedestrians other than to walk amongst vehicles.
Some examples of these ‘sidewalk-less’ streets are Huynh Khuong Ninh in District 1, Tran Quang Dieu and Tran Van Dang in District 3, and Huynh Man Dat in District 5.
Along one section of Duong Quang Ham in Go Vap District, another street with no sidewalk, vendors of a makeshift market place their products on the roadway, posing greater threats to traffic safety.
On those roads that are lucky enough to have a footpath, the pavements are constructed in an inconsistent manner, causing difficulty for walkers as well as compromising urban esthetics.
By contrast, some parts of Nguyen Trong Tuyen Street in Phu Nhuan District have over 1.2 meters of pavement, while public space is completely absent along other sections.
On Hoang Van Thu Street in the same district, some sidewalk sections are over 1.5 meters wide, while others are less than one meter, making it difficult to walk on.
According to Dang Minh Nguyen, chairman of the People’s Committee in Ward 25, Binh Than District, many routes in the neighborhood lack pavements or sufficient sidewalk space.
The situation will only be resolved once future expansion projects are carried out.
A representative from the Urban Management Office in Tan Binh District explained that many streets in the area are too narrow to build a promenade on.
Given their currently limited width, local authorities can only make sure that there is sufficient space for vehicles to travel on, with footpaths to be constructed once these routes are expanded.
Meanwhile, an official from the municipal Department of Transport said that it would be hard for expansion projects to be executed due to the cost of clearing the space.
Nguyen Thanh Toan, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Planning and Architecture, added that sidewalks cannot be built on some roads because of the lack of available finances.
As a temporary solution, narrow streets can be widened for vehicles during the day and become walking-only streets at night, Toan suggested.