With VIPs inbound, Pattaya fixes long-broken traffic lights

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Launched in 2010, the 29-million-baht project was billed as a way to improve safety for tourists and bring order to Pattaya’s crazy streets, but the pedestrian-crossing signals have been all but ignored by drivers who simply blow through red lights.
Launched in 2010, the 29-million-baht project was billed as a way to improve safety for tourists and bring order to Pattaya’s crazy streets, but the pedestrian-crossing signals have been all but ignored by drivers who simply blow through red lights.

In another attempt to bring Pattaya up to world standards before the international fleet show, city hall finally has decided to fix dozens of broken pedestrian-crossing signals and do something to make drivers stop.

The 42 useless lights – 17 on Beach Road, 12 on Second and Naklua roads and 13 others between North Road and Jomtien Beach – are among the city’s biggest laughing stocks.

Launched Nov. 1, 2010, the 29-million-baht pet project of former Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome was 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.

Among those ignoring the stop sign were Pattaya’s police officers, who were even captured on video speeding through zebra crossing as pedestrians tried to cross.

Most lights have been dark for years, or inoperable, so that pushing the button for a walk signal did nothing. Pinit claims Pattaya has spent 19 million baht on repairs and maintenance for the Beach Road and three Jomtien Beach Road signals since last year.

Desperate to make Pattaya look like a modern beach resort for top military leaders of neighboring Southeast Asian countries who will be arriving for this month’s fleet show, city hall has embarked on a beach cleanup, patch-up of holes in the sand left by erosion and, now, repairs to traffic signals – at least those near downtown and the pier where the VIPs will be staying.

Pinit said outlying lights also will get a check, but made no promise they’d actually be fixed. He also said officials would do “something” to educate drivers to stop for red lights.