Concerned about Beach Road widening

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Dear Sir,

We are concerned with the proposal to reduce the width of the promenade along Beach Road, by taking 3 metres for an extra road lane, with the 140M baht ‘beautification’ reported last week. Pattaya’s famous beach is a bit like the stories in Playboy magazine; an excuse for buying the mag, rarely the reason; in Pattaya’s case, an excuse for coming here.

Taking three metres from the promenade will take nearly half of it, at places such as in front of the Amari, and in the vicinity of Mike Shopping.

It is not necessary to add another lane. Currently the loading of Beach Rd is actually very low – we would guess 10 – 15% of actual capacity.

The congestion occurs at three places: in front of Central Festival; at the entrance to Walking Street; and the Second Rd intersection.

It is not uncommon to find that the traffic flows freely once past Central. Some short term and long term improvements may eliminate most of the problem.

Re Central Festival, we suggest:

1) Clear the left lane back to in front of the Soi 9 Police Station, or earlier, as found to be necessary, by trial and error.

2) Place a banner over Beach Rd before Pattaya Klang, and another after, advising Central bound traffic to keep left (1 lane) and for through traffic to keep to the right (2 lanes).

3) Change the traffic cones to flexible or low profile fixed markers as per the attached pictures, which can be run over without damage. (Currently, as the slow traffic bunches up, drivers encounter the cones when they are very close – then they often have to reverse to change lanes, not wanting to run over the cones. This greatly slows the traffic. Flexible or low profile markers could be run over). Currently, cones are also placed to stop vehicles parking just before the left turn into Central – but these cones take up that lane, which could be Central’s access.

4) Waiting baht buses and taxis & could use the existing parking bay (4th lane) on the extreme left of Beach Rd, while ‘circulating’ baht buses, etc, could stop after the Central entrance.

These measures could be implemented very quickly, and should result in a considerable increase in the capacity of Beach Road at Central. These could be tested for 2 – 4 weeks to see if they eliminate the problem, to help save Pattaya’s most famous asset from partial demolition.

Widening Beach Rd will have little effect on congestion at Walking St, and no effect on congestion at Second Rd. The traffic will actually move more slowly unless the congestion is cured. We have been working on a design for the Walking St intersection, but it can wait until the Central problem is solved. Or not solved. Other long term measures to relieve Pattaya’s traffic woes might include a redesigned higher capacity baht bus, and baht bus scheduling. We would be happy to work with the Baht Bus Association and Pattaya City Council to make baht buses as convenient and comfortable for all, including tourists, to use.

Finally, we would like to thank the authorities for opening an exit from Highway 7, and an entrance to it, at Chaiyapornvittee Rd for the benefit of Pattaya residents, as requested by Pattaya Progress Association, via Pattaya Mail, some time ago. Working together, we can make Pattaya a great city.

Stuart Saunders,

Pattaya Progress Association

www.pattayaprogress.org