Campaign to Return Bangkok’s Sidewalks to Pedestrians

June 13, 2014
By

mdf1

If you have ever been a pedestrian in Bangkok, you have probably wished, like me, that the sidewalks and footpaths were exclusively for people on foot. Why can’t they be more like the sidewalks in Singapore that are wide and clear of any obstructions. In Thailand they are often used by motorcycles, parked cars, street vendors and shops/restaurants to extend their premises. The sign above says it’s illegal to park or drive on the sidewalk. The fine is 5,000 Baht. But, as you can see by this picture, no-one cares as laws in Thailand often go unenforced.

mdf2

These two pictures show how much space is left for pedestrians. In the picture above, motorcycles are parked under a BTS Skytrain station. In the picture below, street vendors force a pedestrian to walk on the road. I think we have all seen worse than this. But now, with the power of social media, there is something we can do. That is take pictures and share on Facebook and Twitter. All of these pictures were tweeted by an excellent new site called @mydearfootpath

mdf3

The Bangkok governor always liked saying “Together We Can”. Well, we can here too. If you have pictures of the sidewalk being blocked in Bangkok, take a picture and upload it to the My Dear Footpath Facebook page.  Also share on your own social media accounts. You can also sign a petition that calls for the sidewalks in Bangkok to be returned to the pedestrians. Visit Change.org and add your own name to this petition.

21 Responses to Campaign to Return Bangkok’s Sidewalks to Pedestrians

  1. June 13, 2014 at 10:21 am

    To be honest, I am less riled by street vendors etc (though motorbike taxis driving along the pavement do irritate me, but I’m guilty of riding them too) and more by shockingly poor street design that means the entire width of pavements is often taken up by ill-placed telephone boxes, electricity wire boxes, benches, trees, exposed water pipes – the list goes on. I say start with authorities designing the roads properly rather than making hard-working vendors be the first to pay the price.

    • Ron
      June 13, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      Chris, I can’t agree with you. Yes, there many of those obstacles you mentioned, but removing them would take quite some time and also cost a bit of money. Removing an old unused telephone booth may be easy, but replacing a double utility pole with a big transformer sitting on top ain’t that easy…..
      I normally do not visit Bangkok, but the situation here in Pattaya is exactly the same.
      So I would highly appreciate if the local government would bring back happiness to us pedestrians by first forcing all those junk vendors away from the sidewalks. The next steps can be removing the other obstacles.
      And speaking of traffic here @ Pattaya: Introducing strictly enforcing no-parking zones at least on the six main streets would significantly improve traffic flow.

      • June 13, 2014 at 12:41 pm

        I agree it wouldn’t be either easy or cheap, and I’m not saying I expect everything to be got rid of at once, but I at least wish that modern planning going forward would stop it getting worse. Sadly I find the opposite to be true – the same kind of blind, short-sighted planning continues unabated.

  2. Briton Stender
    June 13, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    There are so many campaigns to change this and change that in Thailand these days. Do you guys really want the place to be as sterile and lifeless as the USA?

    • June 13, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      Agreed, that’s the danger. I don’t want the country I live in to be lawless, but it’s undeniable that many people move here for a less nanny state way of living. Although it sounds ironic saying that at the moment.

    • Richard Barrow
      June 13, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      Not really, but it would be nice if it was safe for everyone. I personally don’t mind the food vendors. Just make sure there is enough space to walk. As for the other vendors, it would be nice if the local government provided more walking streets in the evenings or weekends. Then there would be a place for these people.

      • steve
        June 13, 2014 at 2:35 pm

        Ya, I also dont mint the vendors but if they want to clear the vendors and motorcycle, then the local govt would need to build hawker food centres like in Singapore at every corner. Similarly, they should built alternative parking for motorcyclists.Otherwise, cant blame them.

  3. Laura Mellor
    June 13, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    I think stopping motos from driving on the sidewalks is more import. Street vendors are a part of life here, but the motos on the sidewalk are just dangerous.

  4. Matt Shapiro
    June 13, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    I would much rather pass a delicious street food stall and support a small business then have lifeless sidewalks like they do in Singapore

    • June 13, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      Amen Matt, now this I couldn’t agree with more – when there was a crackdown not long ago on food stalls around Phloen Chit, my immediate fear was that things were going to go the way of places like Singapore, with food hawkers all organised and controlled and with the life sucked out of them. It’s all too easy to forget that street vendors aren’t just the nuisance that some of us see them as, many of us (and a great deal of the Thai population) rely on them to eat from at a price we/they can afford.

  5. Ruth Martin
    June 13, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    As a Mum with a son who is blind – I have to say – walking along pavements with him is a NIGHTMARE! Trying to dodge the hot grills, lampposts and huge potholes! I love Bangkok but it is not in anyway disability friendly!

  6. Hossgo Le Thaï-Landais
    June 13, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    They should make a balance between places enough large to allow street vendors with some rules to keep space for walkers going in 2 ways, with strollers for example, and the others where it should be forbidden. Concerning the motorbike, to solve the problem, they should review some driving rules and organization……….

  7. Byte Jugkarin
    June 13, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    In front of Thailife insurance Ratchada as well.. I need to walk on the road now It’s good that we have food to eat all the time but will be better if we have a sidewalk available too!!

    • steve
      June 13, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      If you want to have both cheap street food and pedestrian walkway cleared of food vendors, then surely the only way is to follow Singapore to build hawker centres all across Bangkok. Food vendors need to earn a living and to clear them off the pedestrian walkway without giving them alternatves will be ineffective!

  8. Dan Kvarn
    June 13, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Much needed. Most places are a pain to walk

  9. Hans Laude
    June 13, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    I suppose nobody is really interested in clearing pavements because police are paid- so I’m ‘told’ for looking the other way.

  10. James Bos
    June 13, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Great! When running in bangkok, I am sick of being that mad bastard who runs on the road bcos the sidewalk is full of stalls.

  11. ECP
    June 13, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    That’s it put little people out of business and what makes Bangkok unique.Maybe you should go live in Singapore?

    • Richie Quigley
      June 13, 2014 at 12:56 pm

      I couldn’t agree more, Singapore looks good for Richard. How about asking thais for a change?

      • Richard Barrow
        June 13, 2014 at 12:59 pm

        Thanks for your comment Richie. Can I ask you to read the blog again. The reason that I write it is because THAI PEOPLE have started an online campaign to reclaim their sidewalks. Click on the links and you will see.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *





Richard Barrow on Instagram