PATTAYA – Walking Street business operators met with councilors and government officials at Pattaya City Hall on Wednesday, August 2, to discuss the ongoing issue of oversized neon advertising signs posing a safety threat along the busy pedestrian thoroughfare.
Walking Street is considered Pattaya’s main nightlife attraction and is packed every evening with both foreign and domestic tourists. Over the past few years however, many new establishments have opened up along the street and the competition for business has seen an increase in both the number and size of the overhead advertising hoardings. The situation has reached such a point that the government now considers them to be an eyesore and also a hindrance to emergency vehicles accessing the area in case of a fire or other disaster.
City spokesperson Pol. Maj. Gen. Pinit Maneerath, who chaired the meeting, said that a recent fire on Walking Street saw firefighters and support units having a hard time getting through to extinguish the blaze because of overhead obstructions. Pattaya mayor Anan Charoenchasri also chimed in on the safety issue recently and pointed out that many of the signs look to have been improperly installed and could pose a threat to pedestrians in high winds.
A recent survey conducted by City Hall found that 99% of the signs inspected on Walking Street, or a total of 145, do not meet the required safety standards and exceed size limits given. Some are too long and hang too low while others block passageways when fire trucks are needed in emergency situations.
City officials said they hope to be able to resolve the matter amicably with the business operators but those that do not comply with the new regulations will be sanctioned. One suggestion aired at the meeting was to have all the advertising signs installed vertically, as they do in South Korea and Japan for example. That way, business sectors will not have to remove their signs completely.
Another meeting is scheduled for August 7 where it is hoped to settle the advertising sign issue once and for all. Gen. Pinit said that any remedial works will not clash with other major projects, such as the year-end plan to begin reinstalling all the main power cables underground, if it is applied quickly and all the business vendors agree to the required changes.