As layer upon layer of asphalt gets added to the streets, the distance between the road surface and the footpaths steadily diminishes. Once the torrential showers of rainy season arrive, this means ever more flooding that dampens the ankles of residents. The Bangkok Metropolitan Authority, in all their wisdom, is addressing this issue by raising the sidewalks. In the case of Sathorn Road, a main business artery, sidewalks have increased by about a foot (30 cm).
Here you see a raised section abutting a section of the footpath that is at the old height. The new section actually gains additional elevation behind the fence. The green metal poles are a new addition, too, designed to prevent motorized vehicles (except motorcycles, I suppose) from driving on the footpaths. They are still wide enough to allow street vendors’ carts to enter, though.
The problem is – and you can probably anticipate this as it is common to metropolitan governments the world over – the construction crew responsible for raising the footpaths isn’t responsible for raising any of the objects along the footpaths such as street lamps, signs and bus stops.
The net effect is that bus stop seats that used to be at a comfortable sitting height are now at a squat. Sure enough, another contractor is following the first one, tearing up the new pavers (which, a first for Krungthep, are actually on a cement base rather than just floating on a layer of sand and dirt), then digging out and raising the benches, shelters, signs, etc.
If I didn’t know better, I would think this inefficiency was an intentional way to spread a little largess. Wait a minute… would they do that? Nah…