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MAIL BAG
 

Crosswalks

A pedestrian flyover designed like this would look good and blend in with the old city.

Dear Editor,
I am writing in regard to the lack of crosswalks and the inability of drivers to stop at the few that do exist. The point in front of Tha Pae Gate is a perfect example. This highly trafficked area should have a light to stop traffic so that people can cross over to the gate from the outside road. There is a crosswalk inside the moat, why not one at the outside?
Nimmanhaemin is another road that could use some crosswalks. Mostly it’s a dash across the road and hope that traffic doesn’t come barreling down the wrong side of the road while you stand in the middle waiting to cross the rest of the way. Occasionally a nice person will stop and wave you across but even that is dangerous as you then risk the next lane where the driver usually sees this as an opportunity to speed up and pass the driver who has stopped.

Crossing the Rincome intersection is also a nightmare as is the Canal Road and Huay Kaew intersection. It would be good if the city or the Department of Transportation or the Provincial government, or whoever is in charge of these things considered putting in a pedestrian overpass at these two intersections. While some may think that one at Tha Pae Gate would be unsightly it is possible to have nice looking pedestrian overpasses that don’t ruin the ambience of the old wall. Although, to be honest, the McDonalds does that well enough on its own. But that is a separate issue and one I won’t go into here.

Regardless, I think it would be possible to build a pedestrian overpass that incorporated Lanna architecture or perhaps mimicked that of the Gate. It would blend in far better than the unsightly buildings that surround the moat, ease traffic and make our tourists feel that this city is more pedestrian friendly. See my photo below for an indication of what can be done. This “gate” over Huay Kaew with the photos of HM the King could be reproduced on a smaller scale as a pedestrian overpass.

Finally, I must come to the number one sticking point, even when there are crosswalks with lights many drivers do not feel they need to stop for pedestrians. I am wondering how difficult expensive it would be to put traffic cameras on these lights and fine every driver who runs the red light. It is only until people realize that there will be a punishment for such behavior that they will follow the laws.
Signed,
A frustrated pedestrian


Too many shopping malls?

Dear Editor,
It seems that the charm of Chiang Mai is being turned into the bland shopping mecca that is Bangkok with the construction of quite a few very large malls and shopping centers that are going up around the city. I, for one, am quite disappointed that one is going up at the Rin Kham intersection, the traffic there is already congested, and it has to be one of the worst intersections in the city! And now they are going to add to the traffic? There are rumors that they want to widen Nimmanhaemin so that it goes through to the Airport, the rumor mill stating that it’s just awaiting permission from Wing 41. Well, please may I beg that Wing 41 deny this? Nimmanhaemin should not be turned into a giant highway. What kind of thinking wants to turn what is now a boutique shopping district into a highway?

And pardon me while I rant on about the number of malls going up on the Superhighway and the Ring Roads. How many do we really need? I have heard of at least 4 new malls going up, this seems to me like 3 too many. And what will happen to our funky old stalwart Kad Suan Kaew when Central opens their new mall out of town? Not that I mind these malls being out on the ring roads since it means less traffic congestion in the city but it hearkens to the problems small towns in the United States have faced with the giant mega shopping centers pulling people of out the center of the city, turning them into ghost towns and seeing small shops and locally owned businesses go out of business as the big box stores take all the business.

Please, as the sign says, “Small is beautiful”. I hope Chiang Mai can remember that.
Signed,
Concerned about growth


Potholes!

Dear Editor,
I drive a motorscooter, one of the small ones. This bike is very good for driving in the city as I can get through the heavy traffic and traffic jams easily. Easily except for the growing number of potholes that are all over the city roads. Some are very large and these can be avoided. In fact the city patched the giant one on the corner of Nimmanhaemin and Huay Kaew Road recently and to that, I say thank you! The one that has been created by the Water department as reported in the last issue of the newspaper on the outside of the moat has been mostly fixed. I say mostly since there is still not only a deep dip there but it runs all the way across to the inside of the moat making it difficult for motorscooters. Even cars must be careful in this spot as some spots are very bad.

But it is not these big potholes that concern me the most. It is the small ones that are just big enough for my tyre to fall into and break the inner tube. These little traps of tyre death are everywhere and often I cannot see them until it is too late. I realize that the city has bigger concerns with potholes around the city but it would be wonderful if the small ones could also be filled in. I have gone through 3 inner tubes in the past 3 months due to these hidden holes.

So, a request to the powers that be, can you fill in the little holes too please? I am not asking that you go around filling in the little holes but perhaps when they are fixing the bigger ones they could use some extra asphalt and fill in these small but deep holes too.
Regards
Tomaso


Condoning Cruelty

Dear Editor
What a pity that an otherwise fair and sympathetic review of Le Crystal should consider foie gras in terms only of its ‘exquisite’ and cholesterol boosting (not proved actually) qualities, without acknowledging that it is the product of force feeding and sustained cruelty to the animal. It is banned completely in California, off the menu in most restaurants in the UK and campaignd against by Compassion in World Farming. How long before Chiang Mai catches up with civilised society?
Brian B,
Heather Allen responds
Dear Brian
Whilst I understand your outrage over foie gras, I must confess that I also eat eggs. Usually these are produced in far from cruelty free conditions, with the chickens de-beaked so that they don’t peck each other in the close tight quarters that they are forced to live in. I also eat pork, and the conditions pigs are raised in are generally quite bad, transportation in the hot sun with no water and no shelter is also quite cruel. I understand there is cruelty free foie gras available and we don’t know that Le Crystal doesn’t purchase that. But we do know that the eggs and pork we eat here in Thailand every day are treated cruelly for their entire lives. Sadly I don’t know of many cruelty free sources in this country. It seems to me that the outrage over foie gras as presented by the world press overlooks the outrage that should also be felt over the cruel treatment of all the other animals that we also choose to eat.
Regards
Heather Allen


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Crosswalks

Too many shopping malls?

Potholes!

Condoning Cruelty
 

Note: Letters printed herein in no way reflect the opinions of the editors or writers for Chiang Mai Mail, but are unsolicited letters from our readers, expressing their own opinions. No anonymous letters or those without genuine addresses are printed, and, whilst we do not object to the use of a nom de plume, preference will be given to those signed.
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