The Hanoi Department of Transport proposes to ban all vehicles in 10 streets in the central city from early next year, the department director, Nguyen Quoc Hung, said on Nov. 29.

The streets are Hang Dao, Hang Ngang, Hang Duong, Dong Xuan, Le Lai, Le Thach, Le Thai To, Dinh Tien Hoang, Hang Khay and Trang Tien in Hoan Kiem district.

The streets would open for pedestrians from January 1 from 6am on Saturday to 10pm on Sunday. The same schedule would apply on national holidays.

The project is expected to help preserve the capital's culture and boost tourism and trade.

According to the department's survey on affected local residents in these streets, 925 households would be affected by the project, of which 71 percent supported the project.

The survey also found that residents in 10 walking streets owned more than 1,500 vehicles, mostly motorbikes. They usually kept their vehicles at home or in parking lots nearby.

Deputy Director of the department Nguyen Xuan Tan said the project would require 14 parking lots with an area of 5,670sq m for resident parking. These lots would be located within 500m of their houses.

The parking lots will also be used for public vehicles. Neighbouring streets will also be used as parking places on holidays.

Pham Minh Hang, resident in Dong Xuan street said it was a nice idea to create pedestrian areas where she and other residents could escape from the noise pollution and gas emissions for a while.

"I think the authorities should also arrange parking lots efficiently to avoid disrupting residents' trading activities," she said.

Hang Ngang, Hang Dao, Dong Xuan and Hang Giay streets were already closed to traffic on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6pm to 11pm./