Many pedestrian bridges that cost billions of VND in HCM City are being ignored as people continue to cross streets at ground level.
Pedestrians prefer street level crossings
Around 20 pedestrian bridges which were hoped to improve road safety have been built in HCM City. However, only a few of them are actually being used. Recently, another VND11.60bn (USD464,000) pedestrian bridge was put into use at Gia Dinh Park and two more will be built in coming time. If these bridges are located near a junction with the zebra crossing, the pedestrians will choose to walk across the street.
The pedestrian bridge near Tu Du Hospital has a roof and sturdy barrier but is also rarely used even though there is a lot of foot traffic in the area. Both patients and doctors don’t use the stairs even though the street is crowded. Meanwhile, the pedestrian bridge at the Oncology Hospital is blocked by motorbike taxis and street vendors.
Many people said walking across the street is faster, more convenient and that they are used to it.
According to the city Department of Transport, six new pedestrian bridges were built last year that cost from VND4bn (USD160,000) to VND11bn each. Most of them are built near hospitals and other public locations but most people are too lazy to walk up the stairs. HCM City Traffic Safety Committee reported that about 100 pedestrians died crossing roads annually.
Since January, stricter punishments upon pedestrians who violate traffic laws took effect. It is stipulated that all traffic participants, including pedestrians, will face up to 15 years of imprisonment if the violations cause death, serious injury or damage. However, many people said they were unaware of the new penalties.