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Phuket’s Patong one-way system to go anti-clockwise from June

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket’s Patong one-way system to go anti-clockwise from June | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: A long-awaited plan to reverse the direction of one-way traffic flow in Patong should go into effect in June, as soon public hearings and work to complete a new roundabout at the north end of the beach road is completed, local officials say.

Phunsak Naksena, Patong Municipality Chief Administrative Officer, or “Palad”, said the public-hearing process to approve the project was nearing its conclusion, with initial indications revealing that most residents are in favor of the new scheme.

Patong Municipality policy and planning officer Pimpha Sukluang said that data gathered through the public hearing process was “still under computer analysis”. Final results should be available around the middle of April.

“Right now we can say that approximately 70 per cent of the public canvassed agrees with the project,” she said.

Under the current regimen that went into effect in mid-January 2007, southbound traffic is routed along Rat-U-Thit 200 Pi Road, while northbound traffic travels along the Thaweewong Road, better known to many as “the beach road”.

Completing the loop, Prachanukhro Road at the south end of the beach was made one-way toward the beach, while Phra Barami Road remained two-way.

The system, put in place for a three-month trial period, created a great deal of initial confusion. About two weeks after its inception, some 100 tuk-tuk drivers protested at Kathu Police Station that it was forcing them to drive further to get fares to their destinations.

Despite this, it was not until former Patong Police Superintendent Arayapan Pukbuakao – who was transferred to Surat Thani just this week following a promotion – took up his post in March 2010 that the issue re-emerged.

Col Arayapan pledged to end Patong’s infamous one-way traffic system, “which not only confuses people, but is also in violation of current Thai traffic law”.

The violation he referred to is the fact that on some roads connecting the two major arteries, drivers are required to “keep right” in order to make the system work.

Reversing the flow to make Rat-U-Thit 200 Pi Road northbound and Thaweewong Road southbound would do away with this problem, which is the main reason behind the change.

With public approval reportedly imminent, the only remaining obstacle will the the construction of a new traffic circle at the Laem Petch Intersection, the three-way junction on the beach at the south end of the road to Kamala.

Palad Phunsak said the Tripong Company, a contracting firm from Ratchaburi province, has already been contracted to do the project at a cost of 4.2 million baht.

“The contractor for the new roundabout project is ready to start work, but has to wait for existing power poles to be moved. The Phuket Provincial Electricity Authority office in Patong has already been contacted and asked to move the poles,” he said.

A Patong Public Works officer told the Phuket Gazette that the new circle will greatly improve traffic flow and safety in the area, which has been the site of numerous accidents since the current one-way system went into effect. It would also let large vehicles such as 18-wheeled tractor trailers negotiate turns there.

“Some sections of the roads that connect with the new circle will be changed. Phra Baramee Road, will be a two-way, four-lane carriageway. The Kamala-Kalim Road will be three lanes, one lane heading northbound off the circle and the other two lanes carrying southbound and eastbound traffic into it,” he explained.

Another public works officer told the Gazette that painted arrows would indicate the direction of flow to all approaching motorists. These would remain covered until the new one-way system goes into effect.

There are as yet no permanent plans for the middle of the traffic circle.

“The middle of the circle will have features such as trees and sculptures, however nothing permanent. We would like to wait and see whether traffic flows optimally there or not. If not, then we could still easily make the needed adjustments,” he said.

The Gazette asked several local taxi drivers their opinions about the reversal of flow.

Tuk-tuk driver Rachen Kawiket who collects fares at a prime location on Thaweewong Road near the Bangla Road junction, was unaware of the planned change in the one-way system until the Gazette asked him for his opinion about it.

The 24-year-old said he was unaware of any public hearings held to discuss the issue and that he was opposed to any change to the existing system, which he said “worked fine”.

A fellow 40-year-old tuk-tuk driver on Thaweewong Road said that he also did not join in any public hearings.

“Actually, I want them to change the one-way streets connecting Thaweewong and Rat-U-Thit 200 Pi Road to be two-way, like at Bangla and Sawatdirak Roads, because to get back to our queue we have to travel back around quite a long way after we drop off passengers,” he said.

Another small group of taxi drivers nearby had no comments on the change, but went on to say that whatever Patong Municipality did would unlikely be of benefit to them.

— Atchaa Khamlo

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Phuket

Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | The Thaiger

The Soi Dog Foundation has officially opened its Humane Education Centre, the first of its kind in Thailand dedicated to the welfare of stray animals. The centre, located at the Soi Dog shelter in northern Phuket, forms part of the foundation’s Humane Education program. Rolled out in 2017, the program sees a team visit Thai schools to teach the next generation the basic principles of animal welfare and promote empathetic attitudes towards both owned pets and free-roaming strays.

The program has reached a total of 15,058 students and 861 teachers to date. With a dedicated classroom as well as educational tools and resources now on site at the shelter, Soi Dog will be able to expand the programme and reach an even greater number of young minds.

Co-founder and president of Soi Dog Foundation International John Dalley said, “The cornerstones of what we do – what I believe very firmly are the answers to the stray dog problem throughout Asia – are large-scale sterilisation of stray dogs and cats and education of, particularly, the next generation.

“We see all the time the problems that are being caused through us not respecting the environment and not respecting the other animals with whom we share this planet. That’s why education is so important.”

John also thanked the supporters and donors who made the construction of the centre possible. After cutting the ribbon, the students filed into the brand-new facility for the very first on-site class – a fun and interactive hour of roleplaying, brainstorming and problem solving.

Humane Education Manager Nuttawut “Film” Kumngern. said… “We want to encourage kindness toward animals, especially free-roaming dogs and cats, and teach youngsters to be responsible pet owners. This will sustainably reduce animal cruelty and pet abandonment.”

“We hope to one day see animal welfare incorporated into the curriculum in Thai schools, and our education centre is a great start.”

Soi Dog is ready to welcome school groups from Phuket and other provinces to the centre which can accommodate up to 40 students at any one time. Schools interested in participating are encouraged to email film@soidog.org

Phuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The ThaigerPhuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The Thaiger

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International Schools

Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket

The Thaiger

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Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket | The Thaiger

Chalong police in Phuket say they have yet to start investigating the illegal hiring of foreign teachers at an international school in Rawai, south of the island. Palm House International School allegedly hired foreign teachers illegally in which 2 were arrested by Phuket Immigration police on November 4.

Somkiet Sarasin, the leading investigator of the case, says the 2 Brits were informed that police were processing a charge of working illegally in the country against them, in which both denied the charges. Somkiet says the 2 were released on bail, but did not confirm the amount of bail that was set by the police.

“They are still staying in Thailand. I am not worried. I have their passports. I am not available to explain [any details] because the investigation is still ongoing.”

“This is normal for an investigation when the suspects deny the charge against them. I have to check more information against their claims. This case will probably be concluded next month.”

However, the investigation has yet to begin, with Somkiet saying he has not even questioned the owner of the school, despite his claims the case would be finished next month.

“The investigation into the school will take time. The investigation into the two British people must be finished first.”

Such allegations of foreign teachers working illegally have recently been in the news after Sarasas Witaed Sainoi Pitiyakarn School, in the central province of Nonthaburi, saw 7 foreign teachers probed for being hired illegally. That school, along with others in its private network, made nationwide news after CCTV caught a Thai teacher hitting, pushing and dragging a young student in the classroom. Such widespread violence against students has long been a sad component of many Thai schools, in which some of the teachers are unqualified and unlicensed to teach, but are hired anyway.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Tourism

Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend

The Thaiger

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Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend | The Thaiger

The Tourism Authority of Thailand says that Phuket has received a much-needed 300 million baht boost over the 4 day long weekend with around 54,000 tourists flocking to the island from last Thursday through to yesterday.

Phuket Office Director Nanthasiri Ronnasiri, reports that the average expenditure per visitor was about 5,500 baht, which was higher than the average spend for a Thai tourist to Phuket 2 years ago. She also noted that random checks on hotels showed that occupancy rates climbed to about 35%, with most guests staying 2 nights. But most of Phuket’s hotels remain closed.

Nanthasiri also says that many of the tourists concentrated themselves in the Phuket Old Town area, especially around Thalang Road, Phang Nga Road, and Dibuk Road in order to enjoy at the Sino-Portuguese shophouse architecture and historical locations. In fact much of Phuket Town, including its many markets and alley eateries, were doing roaring business, The Thaiger can vouch for the heavy traffic, on the roads and footpaths, over the past 4 days.

“This special holiday made Phuket tourism livelier, even though it was not as same as the situation before the Covid-19 pandemic.”

In fact, despite the welcome surge of visitors, it was still a long, long way from its previous tourist levels with much of the west coast, which has largely catered for the international tourist traffic, was still very quiet in places like Patong, Kata and Karon.

Phuket wasnt the only destination that has profited off of the long weekend as Chiang Mai saw droves of Thai tourists visiting its Royal Park Rajapruek as well as the northern city’s other nearby national parks and tourist areas. Visitors came from all over to see the blossoming of flowers in a beautiful display at the park as well as enjoying the air-purifying flowers as they relaxed. Tourists were able to rent a bicycle for 60 baht if they wanted to exercise while taking in the scenery and could also pay a visit to the orchid greenhouse, which hosts a variety of orchids in bloom. TripAdvisor recommends to set aside 2 hours to visit the park.

Next holiday weekend, on November 27 and 28, Pattaya is expected to get a tourism boost as its annual fireworks festivalis set to bring in travellers who have taken advantage of package deals offered by some beachside hotels. Such packages were offered for advance bookings, where holidaymakers could view the firework shows on the rooftops of their hotels. The firework displays are said to be long with breaks of entertainment-packed shows, featuring live music and student bands amongst others.

Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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