HCM City plans vendor-friendly sidewalks

Street vendors will no longer have to run away from road inspectors as Ho Chi Minh City authorities are going to allow them to run their business on designated sidewalks.

Officials put forward a plan to move street vendors onto certain sidewalks in the city at a meeting on March 20 between the People’s Committee and the administrations of District 1 and District 4.

“Re-organizing the city’s sidewalks is unavoidable, but it is also important to help underprivileged street vendors seek an alternative way of making a living so that they will not fall victim to hunger or their children to illiteracy,” Tran Vinh Tuyen, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee, said at the meeting.

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The sidewalk of Nguyen Van Chiem Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, where street vendors will soon be allowed to conduct their business.

According to Tuyen, it is necessary to strike a balance between maintaining order on the sidewalk and facilitating street vending, as they have become an integral aspect of the city’s culture and society.

For now peddlers selling their wares on the sidewalk are always wary of road inspectors, running away whenever they come for a check and return when the officials leave.

To ‘re-settle’ local street vendors, District 1 has planned on a weekend market to be located at Bach Dang Park along the Saigon River, street food zones, and pedestrian streets in the ‘backpacker area.’

The street food zones are slated to be opened on the sidewalks of Nguyen Van Chiem Street, Chu Manh Trinh Street, and Bach Tung Diep Park (located at the intersection of Ly Tu Trong with Pasteur Streets) in District 1.

The three areas are estimated to accommodate up to 70 street vendors, who will be allowed to run their business between 6:00 am and 9:00 am in the morning and between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm in the afternoon.

However, Tran The Thuan, chairman of District 1, noted that impacts on nearby traffic should be taken into consideration when opening the weekly market at Bach Dang Park, as Ton Duc Thang Street which runs along the park is quite busy throughout the day.

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Street vendors in Ho Chi Minh City. 

Tuyen further suggested that businesses on such streets be allowed to sell takeaways only to prevent littering while saving space for more vendors.

Meanwhile, District 4 has eyed the opening of three to four vendor-friendly locations on Vinh Khanh, Le Quoc Hung, and Le Van Linh Streets, which are all wide enough for both pedestrians and street vendors.

A weekend market on Street No. 48, where touristic products are sold, was also proposed by the administration of District 4 at a meeting on March 20.

Bui Vien to become pedestrian-only street by April 30

The proposal to turn Bui Vien Street, one of the most popular nightlife streets in Ho Chi Minh City among expats and foreign tourists, into a pedestrian-only street was made by an official from District 1’s administration on March 20.

According to the proposal, the 650-meter street will have its sidewalks upgraded and local businesses will be allowed to legally continue their occupancy of the footpaths. They are encroaching on the walkways unlawfully at the moment.

Art performances and food festivals will also be held occasionally on the street to add to the nightlife menu of tourists, the official said.

Between 7:00 pm and 2:00 am on Saturdays and Sundays, no motorized vehicles will be permitted to enter the street.

Tran Vinh Tuyen has approved District 1’s proposal, demanding that the pedestrian street be opened no later than April 30.

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