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07/08/2017 - 13:31

A city without vehicle horn

That was the proposal presented in the “Transport Businesses with Urban Civilization” conference held by the Department of Planning and Investment and the Department of Transport in mid-April 2017.

This logo has just appeared on Hue streets and has attracted the attention of visitors.

Building traffic culture is a task that cities have to carry out. Hue must do it before it becomes as daunting as in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. According to Le Thanh Phong, a journalist, in this way Hue should make a difference, but not too expensive, that is to implement "City without vehicle horn."  "That is enough to create a unique tourism product for Hue," said Phong. This proposal has received the approval from the office of traffic management, traffic police as well as transport companies. The provincial People's Committee also agreed and assigned the Department of Planning and Investment to implement the "Hue without vehicle horn" campaign.

The campaign is being carefully prepared to be synchronously implemented in the near future. But these days, on the streets of Hue, you could already see the logo "Hue without vehicle horn" stuck on cars, and also reduced car horn as part of the early participation from taxi drivers. Previously, this proposal was explored by the Director of Planning and Investment Phan Thien Dinh on social media and has formed a very active discussion. Overall there were three groups of comments: It must be done - though very difficult; Cannot be done – though desirable; Disagree - because it is not realistic.

The agreeing group accounted for the majority. The reasons were that Hue has a small population, vehicles are not numerous, and streets are not yet crowded. Architect Nguyen Ngoc Dung, a child of Hue who is contributing a lot to Ho Chi Minh City on planning and architecture said that Hue can completely become a city without motorcycles, less cars, with transporting mainly by bus and bicycle, avoiding traffic jams, not only limiting vehicle horn and dusts to the minimum but also reducing traffic accidents.

Writer Ho Dang Thanh Ngoc said that serenity is a value that Hue needs to maintain and develop. Some people wonder: How can serenity be developed? Others do not agree: Because of the quiet and slowness that Hue development is delayed! Isn’t  that true? I think this is a big deal that needs a whole conference to figure out, not just the mentioning of the "City without vehicle horn" story. The disagreement is true only in the busy industrial and commercial cities, while Hue is a tourist city, a rare city that is still retaining its slow pace. The point is to "sell" that slow pace to visitors and to earn money. In other words, Hue will not develop without the quiet and slow; otherwise,  Hue would no longer be Hue!

It also serves as a base for identifying the development objectives for Thua Thien Hue to become a "heritage, cultural, ecological, and environmentally friendly" city. Hue is already famous for its ancient monuments and poetic landscapes. If Hue is the first city in Vietnam without vehicle horn, it will gain a new name, a rare sight that will certainly attract visitors.

It seems that this difference wouldn’t even cost much at all.

Mr Phan Thien Dinh shared that for the past six months, he has tried to drive without the habit of honking and found out that he has greatly improved both his traffic civilization and manner. "I drove slower, more careful, gave way more readily, stayed on the right track; I even felt guilty when carelessly overtaking and cutting in front of another driver.” Mr. Dinh also realized that, before saying no to the horn of our cars, we need to sound the horn to our minds. Because, according to him, the horn is not just a traffic story, but a story of the cultural depth of the people and the land.

Certainly, this good habit will need to build up slowly, and vehicle horns are still needed in necessary situations to avoid the risk of traffic accidents.

More than 40 years ago, when Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew set out the rules that ban littering, spitting, smoking in public, someone said it was "the policies of maids." But Singapore has become a prosperous nation from such seemingly small jobs. Hue should also launch the big deal with such small things: eating slowly, speaking softly, going slowly and….no vehicle honk.

Story: MINH TU - Photo: PHAN THIEN ĐINH

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