The vehicle free walking street experiment in this historic city may return next year

Introduction: The vehicle free walking street experiment in this historic city has been considered a success and it has been proposed to organise more early next year.

Story: An official from the Housing and Town Planning Division under the Ministry of Public Works and Transport disclosed that, many people had liked this street activity and they wanted the authorities to organise it again.

The proposal to repeat the experiment is still under consideration by the deputy mayor and his committee so, if approval is granted, the activity will be organised in the same place again.

The car-free street trial occurred twice in the Mekong River area, from January 31 to February 1 and from February 7-8, providing residents and visitors with a place for relaxing and shopping.

The time when vehicles were banned from the street was from 5:00pm to 9:30pm, creating a pedestrian precinct alongside the Mekong with a panoramic view where people could take an evening stroll.

There were 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.

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

The areas where pedestrian walking streets occurred in the Mekong River area were on Chao Anou and Francois Ngin streets nearby the Ong Teu, Chanh and Mixay temples, which proved very popular.

According to official, the first time they closed these roads to traffic, over the period from January 31 to February 1, over 7,200 visitors, local and foreign, turned up. On the second occasion, February 7-8, almost 20,000 people took part in the activities. The experiment of car free streets is one of many projects under the Vientiane vista improvement scheme, which is being supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Lao technicians and experts from JICA are discussing ways to improve housing and town planning in Vientiane to maintain and enhance the ambience of the downtown area.

The system will eventually 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: Lao National Television News in English
Broadcast on March 27, 2015