Several streets in downtown HCM City are likely to become exclusively pedestrian zones in the future, according to Huynh Xuan Thu, director of the city's Planning Information Centre.

Pedestrian zones are areas of a city or town exclusively reserved for pedestrian use, in which some or all motorised traffic may be prohibited.

The municipal Department of Architecture and Planning (DAP) and Spain's IDOM have just completed studies on the arrangement and landscape design for pedestrian areas in the city centre, Thu said.

The plan aims to reduce the use of personal vehicles in the city centre and make it more attractive to tourists.

Under the plan, the city centre will have three pedestrian zones, the first of which will be marked by streets of Tran Hung Dao, Pham Ngu Lao and Bui Vien in District 1, Thu said.

The second pedestrian area will comprise the Ben Thanh Market and neighbouring streets, and the third, streets running along historical and cultural sites including Dong Khoi, Nguyen Hue, Le Loi, Ton Duc Thang, Ham Nghi and Le Duan.

Converting these streets into pedestrian zones will be a process implemented step by step with a pilot plan likely to be carried out at some streets including Bui Vien, Pham Ngu Lao and those bordering the Ben Thanh Market.

The plan also envisaged planting more trees, tiling old pavements, and introducing public transportation.

Local communities feel it is desirable to have pedestrian-only streets in these areas because they will have both economic and other benefits, Thu told the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

The DAP-IDOM study has also suggested measures to handle the use of vehicles belonging to people who live or work at the pedestrian zones.

Thu also stressed that the pedestrian zones are still an idea that is being researched. More studies will be required before it can become a real project, he said./.