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New Proposal Turns Ton Duc Thang Into Walking Plazas, Shoos Traffic Underground

The People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City recently unveiled an ambitious development proposal that might vastly change downtown Saigon’s public space.

According to Thanh Nien, the HCMC People’s Committee announced its plan to makeover Ton Duc Thang Street and the Bach Dang Park, which runs from Thu Ngu Flag Pole near Khanh Hoi Bridge to the site of Ba Son Shipyard.

The project seeks to put the stretch of Ton Duc Thang completely underground with two traffic lanes going in each direction and to transform its current ground-level area into parks and pedestrian-only plazas.

The new promenade-park-plaza premise will span 18 hectares. The current much-smaller Bach Dang Park houses the Bach Dang Station for the Saigon Waterbus and the Saigon Hydrofoil Station, in addition to a night food street, some footpaths, cafes and green spaces.

In an interview with the news source, a representative from the municipal Department of Planning and Architecture shared that the revamp will also include an underground parking facility 100 meters from Me Linh Square to the south of Ngo Van Nam Street.

The square itself will become a multi-level structure: the ground floor will feature vegetation and a fountain while a lower level will be home to small stores, coffee shops and eateries. Transportation-wise, the new area can be accessed by three bus stations, a waterbus station and an LRT station — which stands for light rail transit, a high-capacity tram.

Additionally, the city also wants to turn the existing 378-meter-long Ba Son quay into a port serving domestic passenger boats and other tourist boats.

According to architect Ngo Viet Nam Son, connecting Nguyen Hue Walking Street with Ton Duc Thang to expand the city’s pedestrian zones is a great idea. By implementing more transport options and parking facilities, Saigon could encourage residents to walk more.

However, Son is skeptical about putting Ton Duc Thang underground. He told Thanh Nien that constructing underground roads next to a river is very expensive, especially when it’s unnecessary because other forms of proposed public transport should be enough to serve pedestrians. Besides, he’s worried that turning too much of the city’s underground layers into concrete will worsen its flooding problem.

This week, Saigon administration also imposed a traffic ban on Nguyen Hue during weekend nights to make the area less chaotic and safer for those using the walking street.

[Photo via Hotwire]

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