It seems folks in the capital city of Hanoi are all flocking to well known hotspots to choose the best flower pots to adorn their homes for Tet (Lunar New Year).

Amidst the gaiety that this activity brings out into the city's streets, there are some residents, including commuters, who are not sharing the festive cheer.

The reason is not difficult to discern – worsening traffic congestion.

Hoang Hoa Tham street has for long been known as the place-to-go in Hanoi to purchase plants and flowers. The already crowded street now is now overflowing.

At this flower market, which runs from the fork of Lac Long Quan and Buoi streets to the Hoang Hoa Tham Junior Secondary School on the eponymous street, the flower pots and plants have not just encroached the pavement, but spilled on the street as well, colourfully and fragrantly blocking traffic.

Elsewhere, on Au Co street, the Quan Thanh intersection and several other places, dozens of street vendors have set up shop, drawing both admiring glances and frustrated looks with the flora they put on display.

In many places, pavements and roadsides are no longer the preserve of pedestrians, they have become ad-hoc markets.

At the mini flower markets on Thuy Khue street, which are taking up large spaces in front of temple gates, customers stop right on the road to bargain and make purchases, and the congestion this causes during rush hours is particularly bad.

Authorities say they are aware of the problem, but have limited intervention options.

Lieutenant Phung Duc Hieu of the Traffic Police Department said congestion at the Hoang Hoa Tham – Buoi fork has become a Tet practice, because the traffic flow is always very high during this period of the year.

Although traffic police officers are deployed in the area the whole day, it is almost impossible to avoid the jams caused, he said.

Fines for pavement and road encroachment have not proved effective because these violations continued to happen during the Tet season.

Bui Tuan Duong, Vice Chairman of Thuy Khue ward's People's Committee, said they have asked Tay Ho district's People's Committee to relocate the business area, but no decision has been taken yet.-VNA