May 04, 2018 / 15:46

The second walking street in Hanoi: Worth the long wait?

The Hanoitimes - Trinh Cong Son walking street, scheduled to open in mid May, is Hanoi’s second public space not for vehicles, following the first near Hoan Kiem Lake.

Tough begining
The idea about a project to turn Trinh Cong Son street into a pedestrian one was initiated by the People's Committee of Tay Ho district in 2015 and started to be implemented in 2016.
It had once been expected that the street named after the talented music composer would soon become a walking space at weekends, at the end of August 2017 when vendor kiosks were set up and the surrounding landscape was also adjusted. A parking lot for motor vehicles was anticipated; the two public squares alongside the lake were expected to be utilized for community cultural activities. The 2017 Capital Liberation Day had been set to mark the inauguration of this walking street.
However, the fixed kiosks, modeled after the ancient house of Hanoi and Hoi An, became the cause of the delay of the expected implementation of this project, due to the opposition of the residents nearby.
Trinh Cong Son Street
Trinh Cong Son Street

Nguyen Bo, a representative of Trinh Cong Son street residents​​ specified: "The fixed kiosks on the pavement of Trinh Cong Son street cause the unaesthetic look of this area, affecting the established living habits as well as the cultural space of the people. In addition, we also have concerns about the possible consequences when the walking street is implemented, especially the issues of environmental sanitation, security and social order ... "
The Trinh Cong Son walking street shall start at 19:30 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday every week. All activities related to this street walking space are managed by the People's Committee of Tay Ho district.
The preparation has been 95% completed, after nearly 8 months of adjustment, according to Nguyen Dinh Khuyen, Vice Chairman of the People's Committee of Tay Ho district. Taking into consideration the residents’ feedback, the project implementer replaced the fixed kiosks with the mobile ones. These kiosks shall be erected only at weekends and removed shortly after the weekend is over. The official time for inauguration is set to take place on May 11 by the People's Committee of Tay Ho district.
As informed by the People's Committee of Tay Ho district, the pilot launch of Trinh Cong Son walking street will take place in mid May (11th, 12th and 13th).
A street of art 
According to the initial project plan, Trinh Cong Son street would have about 50 - 60 food stalls/booths, then the number got reduced to 30. However, according to Nguyen Dinh Khuyen, in the initial time period following the inauguration there shall be only 15 stalls/booths allowed to be erected, selling typical West Lake dishes such as Phu Thuong steamed sticky rice, West Lake fried shrimp cake, snail rice vermicelli, as well as other famous specialties of Hanoi such as Thanh Tri steamed rice rolls, Vong village green young rice...
Hence, this almost-1-km-long street shall include an art space with a 2,000m2 outdoor stage near the lotus pond for performances of music composed by Trinh Cong Son, with water puppet shows at the two lotus lakes, plus other traditional performance art forms such as Quan Ho singing, folk singing...
Tay Ho district will collaborates with the Hanoi College of Art and some other organizations to prepare the performance schedule for art programs at weekend. In addition, individuals and groups who love Trinh Cong Son music can freely express themselves, however must register their performances to the Culture and Information Office of Tay Ho district.
The pilot period for Trinh Cong Son walking street is expected to be up to the end of 2018, after which it will be assessed and then either get expanded or narrowed down.
The project is expected to soon become the second walking space in Hanoi, helping to ease the heavy traffic on the walking streets around the Sword Lake.