City Hall wants police to handle illegal parking, traffic light problems

Friday, 06 June 2014 From Issue Vol. XXII No. 23 By  Warunya Thongrod

Pattaya city hall can put up traffic signs and lights, but it’s up to the police to actually enforce them.

That was the message from Pattaya spokespeople Banjong Banthoonprayuk and Damrongkiat Phinitkan during their monthly meeting with reporters May 23. Both were responding to complaints about illegal parking and the decision to turn off pedestrian-crossing lights on Beach Road during weekends.

Chaowalit Jariyayanyong, chief of traffic and commute design, said city hall can design signs and paint traffic lines “but as far as law-enforcement goes, it’s up to police and the (Chonburi) Land Transport Department to manage the regulations.”

Pattaya spokespeople Damrongkiat Phinitkan (left) and Banjong Banthoonprayuk (right) say that city hall can put up traffic signs and lights, but it’s up to the police to actually enforce them.Pattaya spokespeople Damrongkiat Phinitkan (left) and Banjong Banthoonprayuk (right) say that city hall can put up traffic signs and lights, but it’s up to the police to actually enforce them.

Police also are responsible for the much-ridiculed traffic lights at more than a dozen points along Beach Road, he said.

“The lights are working just fine,” Chaowalit said. “But the police have requested they be shut down every Friday through Monday, leaving them blinking to reduce congestion.”

Traffic increases on weekends and holidays - as does the number of pedestrians needing to cross Beach Road - but Chaowalit admitted what nearly anyone who has been in Pattaya already knows: “Even when the light turned red, drivers did not stop their cars, decreasing confidence of residents and tourists in the lights.”

Nonetheless, Chaowalit said he’d be meeting with police on the lights issue at some point in the future.

Launched Nov. 1, 2010, the crossing lights were billed as a way to improve safety for tourists and bring order to Pattaya’s crazy streets. Almost immediately, however, the signals - some separated by as few as 50 meters - were ridiculed and all but ignored by drivers who simply blew through red lights.

The city tried to salvage the program by posting banners, sending informational sound trucks into the streets and having police monitor selected crossings. Traffic police said the educational efforts partially worked, but the gains could not offset the traffic congestion they created.

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