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Saigon Officials Blame Skyscrapers for Traffic Congestion

As traffic congestion in downtown Saigon continues to grow, the city’s legislators are putting the onus on high-rise buildings.

Last week, members of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Council heaped blame upon the southern hub’s skyscrapers, claiming they contribute to a declining quality of life in the city, reports VnExpress. The council is now seeking clarification from the municipal government on the factors considered when licensing a high-rise project, particularly with respect to traffic.

The close proximity of Saigon’s high-rise structures, officials believe, creates an increase in nearby traffic. Legislator To Thi Bich Chau cited the intersection of Nam Ky Khoi Nghia and Le Loi as an example: thanks to a pair of large shopping malls, Saigon Square and Saigon Center, the area is routinely packed with vehicles.

“Many commuters get stuck in constant traffic jams every day,” she said, according to the news outlet.

Director of the municipal Department of Construction, Tran Trong Tuan, also acknowledged the problems surrounding skyscraper projects in Saigon, pointing out that such construction is beginning to outstrip infrastructure projects like road expansion.

While city officials can see the increasing in traffic caused by such large buildings – even Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc commented on the issue, asking municipal authorities to pay close attention to the problem – Tuan said in the meeting that the city had yet to come up with a viable solution, reports VnExpress.

In fact, Saigon is not the only Vietnamese city struggling to bring high-rise development under control. Chairman Huynh Duc Tho of the Da Nang People’s Committee recently told VnExpress that high-rises are increasing the coastal city’s population density and putting pressure on its downtown infrastructure.

“We’ve started thinking about restrictions on housing developments and migration to the inner city,” the chairman said in a meeting last week, according to VnExpress.

Tho continued: “A multi-story residential building can squeeze in 700-800 families. That surely would make traffic congestion more severe.”

While Da Nang’s dilemma is slightly different – the coastal city has the advantage of being able to plan ahead, while Saigon’s rampant growth poses a greater challenge for city planners – top HCMC lawmaker Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam was clear about the southern hub’s need to pay more attention to its residents’ needs.

“Some projects have contributed significantly to the state budget but have had adverse affects on people’s quality of life,” Tam said, according to VnExpress.

The lawmaker continued: “We need to take a wider view to guarantee people’s quality of life and sustainable development.”

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