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Downtown HCMC to close Nguyen Hue, introduce trams
By Thanh Nien News -

Electric cars take tourists through Hanoi's Old Quarter. Photo credit: Vietnam News Agency Electric cars take tourists through Hanoi's Old Quarter. Photo credit: Vietnam News Agency

Ho Chi Minh City plans to introduce electric trams to its downtown streets starting next May to reduce traffic pollution, around the time Nguyen Hue Street will be closed, exclusively, to pedestrian traffic.
The cars are expected to be introduced on April 30 to mark the country’s Independence Day, Thoi Bao Kinh Te Saigon reported Tuesday.
HCMC Transport Department said the trams will reduce air and noise pollution.
Duong Hong Thanh, deputy director of the transport department, said at press briefing on the city's green traffic campaign that his unit has studied a trial route of around 7.5 kilometers.
Thanh said the city will raise private funds for the project.
His department presented two operation plans. In one, the trams would respond to customer calls 24/7 like taxis. In the other, they would run on fixed routes like public buses.
For the second option, the fixed routes will go around certain tourism destinations like September 23rd Park outside Ben Thanh Market, the backpackers’ area, Me Linh point, Lam Son Square, Le Loi, Nguyen Hue and Le Duan Streets, and the Saigon Zoo.
The city government has assigned transport officials to work with tourism providers to survey demand.
Hanoi has used electric cars to drive tourists around the West Lake and the Old Quarter. Danang also introduced electric cars for tourists in March 2012.

Horse statues at the latest version of Nguyen Hue's Tet flower road that opened on January 28, 2014 for the Year of Horse. Photo: Doc Lap
Walking Nguyen Hue
City locals and visitors have grown familiar with crowds jostling through flowery Nguyen Hue Street every Lunar New Year (Tet) season.
They will have time to do that all year round as the city plans to turn the street into a pedestrian promenade by March of next year.
The 670-meter long street is expected to host 3D art events and colorful dancing water fountains to serve the public at night.
More shade trees will be planted to provide relief during the day, thanks to estimated investment of nearly VND430 billion (US$20.21 million).
The HCMC government has asked the Prime Minister to allow it to appoint an EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) contractor.
A city statement said the construction needs to finish early so a new monument of Ho Chi Minh can be installed in time for the grand celebration of 40 years of reunification on April 30, 2015. 
The current monument will be moved to the city Children’s House.
Next February, the Tet flower road will be shifted to Ham Nghi to accommodate construction.

Nguyen Hue Street will be turned into a pedestrian promenade by March of next year.