Vientiane To Trial Pedestrian Zone Alongside Mekong

For nine days at the end of January Vientiane will have a designated walking area alongside the Mekong, designed to offer residents and visitors a peaceful place with a panoramic view where they can take an evening stroll.

An official from the Housing and Town Planning Division, Mr Chanthasack Bottaphanith, told Vientiane Times on Friday this was part of a programme to improve amenities in the city.

“We will close the riverside road in the evening and turn it into a pedestrian walkway for nine days starting from January 24. If it proves popular we will consider continuing with it,” he said.

The installation of temporary bollards to block vehicular traffic from 6 pm until midnight each day will create a pedestrian zone and allow people to walk in comfort.

The riverside panorama when added to the calm of a pedestrian walkway and the views of the nearby Ong Teu, Chanh and Mixay temples is expected to prove very popular.

Mr Chanthasack said there will be small dance shows provided by the Department of Performing Arts and the Fine Arts Department of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism at various points along the road, as well as a display of photos entered in the urban beautification photo contest and places where visitors can buy souvenirs.

This pilot project is being supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Lao authorities and JICA will also create a parking area and install more traffic signs to improve vehicle management in the area.

The creation of a night-time pedestrian precinct will create a relaxing atmosphere for local residents and visitors and facilitate the sale of food, drinks, handicrafts and souvenirs while also allowing for recreational activities.

Lao technicians and experts from JICA will also work to improve housing and town planning in Vientiane to maintain and improve the ambience of the downtown area.

The current system of town planning in Vientiane is quite old, dating back more than 30 years, and lacks coherence and structure in terms of identifying the main buildings and places of significance in the city centre, meaning little has been done to preserve and accentuate them.

The creation of a new housing and planning scheme would help to curb wholesale development and improve the layout of the inner city. It would also allow locations and zoning to be determined more simply.

The system would indicate the location of houses on town planning maps, along with old temples, old city buildings, community zones, high rise zones, commercial areas, shopping malls, monuments and public parks.

Source: Vientiane Times

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