The Hanoi People's Committee on June 2 approved the city Police's plan to ban all vehicles around the Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake areas in order to turn them into walking streets.

Director of the city Police Department Nguyen Duc Nhanh said that the plan will help curb the current traffic disorder and attract more tourists just like in Hoi An Town, in the central province of Quang Nam.

The model will help trading activities and improve people's health, he added.

Plans include setting up parking lots for both local residents and tourists around where they could store their vehicles before entering the Old Quarter, known to include 36 streets.

According to Nhanh, many countries throughout the world have successfully organised walking streets, between 500 metres and 1 km long, in well-known tourist areas. A similar plan was put into use during the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi last October, he said.

The model will be piloted around the Hoan Kiem Lake-Le Thai To-Dinh Tien Hoang route and Hang Ngang-Hang Dao-Hang Duong-Dong Xuan routes during weekends and public holidays during the next two months.

The municipal Transport Department will be responsible for implementing the plan, scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.

Le Ngoc Quang, a resident of Hang Ma street , said that the idea could cause traffic disorder with illegal parking lots springing up, potentially overcharging both tourists and local residents.

"The ban on vehicles could block our trading activities", he said adding that, "there are several hundreds of households earning their livings by trading and not through profiting from tourists."

Nguyen Quoc Hung, director of the municipal Transport Department, said that thorough surveys will be conducted in order to gage the viewpoints of local residents in order to provide solutions to minimise any inconvenience to them.

In other news, Nhanh stated that the city will establish two inspection teams to re-examine parking places throughout 10 city districts.

Inspections, focused on the responsibilities of State-owned and private enterprises in charge of managing parking services in their areas, will last until July 25.

Nhanh noted that cyclos will be allowed to continue operating in the old quarter, but under strict management.

He said that four enterprises, whose cyclos had been granted licences by the municipal Department of Planning and Investment, had committed to not using unregistered cyclos to service tourists./.