ชาวบ้านนิมมานเหมินท์ได้ร้องเรียนให้1111

 

1111

๑.ชาวบ้านย่านนิมมานเหมินท์ในตัวเมืองเชียงใหม่เคยร้องเรียนเทศบาลเรื่องแนวถนนทีชำรุดจากการวาง

ท่อประปาไม่เรียบร้อยร่วม 10 ปีแล้ว ทำให้การใช้รถจักรยานและจยย.มีความเสี่ยงต่อการแฉลบล้มหรือ

หลบทางชำรุดแล้วโดนรถต์ตามหลังชนท้าย

Ten year disgrace
๒. ชาวบ้านได้ร้องเรียนไปทาง ทบน.ชม.ได้เกือบปีแล้ว แต่ทาง ทบน.ชม.บอกทำอะไรไม่ได้เนื่องจาก

ถนนเป็นของกรมทางหลวง
๓. จากการที่รัฐบาลมีนโยบายส่งเสริมทางจักรยานและการใช้จักรยาน จึงขอเสนอให้กรมทางหลวงจัดงบ

ประมาณมาดำเนินการซ่อมผิวทางและทำเป็นทางจักรยานเป็นมาตรการแก้ไขเร่งด่วน
๔.ชาวย่านนิมมานเหมินท์เกรงว่าแผนการทำถนนซูเปอร์ไฮเวย์ผ่านกองบิน ๔๑ จะทำให้การจราจรของรถ

ยนต์ผ่านถนนนิมมานเหมินท์เพิ่มจำนวนหนาแน่นในอัตราที่เร็วมาก ทำให้ปัญหาในถนนนิมมานเหมินท์ที่

มากอยู่แล้ว สาหัสยิ่งขึ้น

Gone for Nimmanhaemin Rd widening - Flats
๕. การทำทางลอดบนถนนซูเปอร์ไฮเวย์ที่ทางแยกแม่โจ้ใเชียงใหม่ไปยังทางลอดแยกข่วงสิงห์ จะทำให้รถ

ไปออกันที่แยกเจ็ดยอดอย่างรวดเร็วและไปออกันอีกมากที่แยกรินคำ เชียงใหม่จะเกิดอัมพาตทางจราจร

นอกจากนั้นต้นไม้พวกมะฮอกกานีซึ่งกำลังเติบโตให้ความร่มรื่นสวยงามอยู่แล้วจะถูกตัดออกไป โดยไม่มี

ใครได้ประโยชน์จากโครงการนี้ ยกเว้นผู้รับเหมาและผู้เกี่ยวข้องไม่กี่คน

Three way underpass

 

ข้อเสนอทางแก้ไข คือทำวงเวียน

ใหญ่แทนทางลอดนี้ ซึ่งรถจะไม่ติดแต่เคลื่อนตัวช้าลงบ้าง ช่วยให้การออตัวที่แยกหรือทางลอดข่วงสิงห์

ไม่เกิดขึ้น ต้นไม้ที่ร่มรื่นจะยังคงอยู่

Cairns Highway Roundabout

 

Text thanks to  Dr Nirandorn of the Chiang Mai Sunday Bicycle Club

 

 

 

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I Went Out in the Woods Today

As it so happens

I Went Out in the Woods Today  :

Didn’t mean to, well not in the afternoon that is, just one of those things that happens when something one expects or plans does not.

 

My plan was to cycle a somewhat circuitous route to take a swim at the 700 year Olympic pool.  Circuitous was the plan to avoid horrid polluting New Year traffic snarls, so I planned push my bike over the “not for traffic” bridge and then ride up the hill to the physics gate of Chiang Mai University and beyond towards the north.

But on crossing the bridge, to my surprise, I could not help but notice that there was no traffic jam,. So instead of forging ahead I turned right along the canal road. Early this morning I had driven my work, oops we don’t “work” do we, so should I say my “recreation” truck, along the same stretch of road and came upon a fence which made my planned U-turn at the U-turn bridge there rather awkward. Cars were streaming toward me, but only one lane of them, so I squeezed past, proceeded on and did not stop to think about the reason for this odd alteration to the roadscape. Now in the afternoon on my freedom machine, my sixteen year old “Giant”, designed in the USA and made very well in the Peoples Republic of China, I was to discover the intent of the changes in traffic management. Not only was there no build up of cars on the Irrigation canal road, but the intersection Huai Keow had not one vehicle waiting there. The bridge on the main and practically only road leading to our sacred Doi Suthep, with its lascivious temple of gold and marble, was closed, and yet the traffic glided by? Think back a dozen years. Major works were underway on the Super Highway which almost rings Chiang Mai town, and let’s make sure it remains as “almost”. The traffic lights which had formerly controlled the intersections with the roads radiating out of town were no longer operating, and at the middle of the crossroads was  great trench, which in time, many months time, would have a bridge across it. Meanwhile the traffic passed in an orderly way, no high speed crashes possible,  in an out of the intersection by way of a rather elongated round-about, or as some in the USA say a traffic-circle. Come the last days of 2014 and it appears that the Chiang Ma Traffic Police have had their memories jogged, and with a few temporary fences and signs, abolished a perennial traffic jam in like manner. What a simple and inexpensive way to make a city more livable.

Temporary Round-About - Northern End

Having had the enjoyment of an easy passage across what is normally one of town’s least bicycle friendly junctions, I resisted the temptation to continue along with the cars and nipped into the lane running parallel to the main Irrigation Canal road fifty metres to the west. Earlier I had discovered this back way away from the cars, which takes one half way to the 700 year stadium. Here again cycling was blissful. Like on the main road, congestion, largely of waiting motor bikes had vanished, and for the whole two and a half kilometres of the route, quite unlike the degraded concreted sois I had come from in the Nimmanhaemin area, the road was without a bump having just been resurfaced with asphalt. I lie a little as the last few metres are concrete and there is one small bump to cross.

 

Beyond the winding soi was a different story. The monstrous exercise in landscape dis-figuration in the form of ChiangMai’s new convention and exhibition centre lay before me. Hugely expensive stainless steel fences and gigantic gates protect the car park asphalt from unwelcome intruders but four of th gates, all abutting the road to the south were open. A gliding ride, gliding as here the asphalt remains intact, in one gate , out the next a there was no through way, in the third gate a ride in search of a gate open to the north, but all locked, and so out again. Thankfully for the evening cool, and the fact that my 16 year old rust encrusted in its interior pedal axle had been replaced the day before, I emerged still feeling the elation of my roundabout discovery.

 

The final stretch of the journey takes one along the obscenely wide road built for the convention centre on the western side of the canal. This passes the two monumental signs naming the place, the newer of shiny black granite quite obscuring the original sign, which has a bas-relief ornament resembling those at the fabled Angkor Wat in Kampuchea. Beyond a decision has to be made on travel with the cars across the canal or along a rough track to the SEA games village, now a government officer “gated community” with the office of the Provincial Electricity Authority, the PEA, and the only place I know in Chiang Mai where all electric cables are underground. The contrast with the road outside could not be more stark. Electricity wires have been strategically situated above Teak trees on both sides of the canal, with the result they are regularly chopped and are among the ugliest anywhere in Thailand. To add insult to this injury the PEA have dumped large numbers of ugly concrete poles along the track.

SEA Games Village

Across and adjacent to the main road is another contrast, the gaudiest flower garden in the north, a pet project of Uncle Boonlert, president of the Chiang Mai Provincial Administrative Organisation.

Provincial Flower Garden

 

 

 

At the entrance to the games village the track stops and one must either join the traffic, or as I discovered on my return journey go into the village, past the villas of the senior officers and the proletarian blocks of flats fro the hoypaloi and up and down an easy flight of steps to the 700 year precinct. I chose the main road but a short distance to the beckoning swimming pool.

ไม่มีบริการ

However at the open gate to the sports centre an unwelcoming sign “No service from 20th December to 4th January”. Foiled again. So what to do next? Cycle in and inside and explore. I had been working on the idea of a low stress route from Huai Keow to Huai Teung Thao (that is the Google Earth spelling). The route would include the the smooth soi described above and a new shard path to the west of the convention centre and 700 year arenas. So I cycled west and through a gate and up hill through a settlement for irrigation department workers and thence to a hidden dam. Type in Navamin on a Google Earth search and there it is but not at all conspicuous until one zooms in as it is surrounded on three sides by the woods.

 

Across the dam wall and passing the “Do not pass” sign and the litter of polystyrene boxes and plastic from a recent mass picnic and into a grassy weedy wasteland waiting for the arsonists match, replete with more organised human truck borne litter and thence onto the rough tracks of the “Lanna Adventure” bush bashers. Eventually the road becomes so steep and rough that my bike takes a rest and I proceed on foot. As I slow down the weedy grass gives way to Kangaroo Grass. Am I hallucinating you wonder? Kangaroos in Asia?  Well that’s what we know Themeda tiandra as in Australia, although if one came from say Kenya where it also grows Zebra Grass, as it is no giant unlike Elephant Grass might be the name. Along with the grass appear shrubs and climbing plants and an over storey of Yang Hieng, Dipterocarpus obtusifolius trees. A long way from being mature as this forest has been completely cut over, most likely for charcoal production in the past.

 

So thanks to things unexpected I went out in the woods today. And thanks to the excellent work of the Chiang Mai Traffic Police I feel vindicated in my advocacy of building round-abouts.

 

The traffic engineers of the Main Roads Department have yet to show they comprehend the notion of a round-about. Although their value has been recognised for decades in Britain and Australia and was clearly demonstrated during temporary arrangements over a decade ago, not one round-about feature has been included in any main road works in Chiang Mai.

 

Instead plans are to construct yet another a huge road tunnel with traffic lights on the Super Highway and a virtual dead end road leading from Nimmanhaemin via a traffic lights at Suthep road to the gates of the Wing 41 airbase.

Three way intersectionThree way underpass

To heed the lesson of the New Year is to demand that the Governor of Chiang Mai order the Main Road plans be scrapped and we go back to the drawing board to develop a sustainable traffic management plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If You Go Out in the Woods Today….

 

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Traffic Snarls ? – Get on your Bike – updated

Of late it seems everyone in town is complaining about traffic jams. Only yesterday my neighbor complained that it took her three hours to go and buy shoes at the Worowat Market and return home to Nimmanhaemin Soi 1. The red taxis are trying to keep out of the traffic snarls and make some money taking tourists out of town and who can blame them?

But now the Traffic Police, bless their souls, have come upon a solution , in small print below:

No Parking 12:00-22:00

No parking 12 noon to 10 pm on the nigh eternally congested Nimmanhaemin Rd.

So now we have a defacto bicycle-pedestrian-motorbike lane and no delays and no congestion …

Defacto Bike lane

Except for the four and more wheeled polluting fossil fuel guzzlers.

Why biking is better

Thanks Coppers.

.. update

Nimman shared no car lane

 Ten year disgrace  Warning: The Western side lane needs immediate resurfacing to make it bicycle and pedestrian safe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When patrolled and the no parking law is enforced by the traffic police the new arrangements work well.

However by 3rd January  policing had become sporadic and illegal parking common. What are the police doing ?

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Felix Sol Invictus – สวัสดีเทศกาลดวงอาทิตย์ชนะ

By 25th December in the northern hemisphere the days are starting to get longer now that we have passed the longest night.  So it is time to celebrate the Sun’s victory over darkness, just as the Romans of old did.

This morning the mercury (actually red coloured alcohol in my thermometer ) dropped to 13 C in Chiang Mai, -2 on Doi Inthanon, but undeterred I placed my trusty black bucket full of water out to catch the heat as the Sun rose.

click  to see

click to see

At 2:20 pm the air had risen to 25 C and I went to check the water temperature and there you have it  : 38 C. Perfect for a bath, but had no time.

Click again

Click again

Returning home at 5:20 pm the reading was  :

DSCN4012

34 C and 15 minutes to go before the Sun would disappear behind the mountain.  With no time to loose a quick warm bath was taken.

With the right timing no need for a fossil fuel powered water heater.   Thanks Sun.

 

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Chiang Mai’s best bike lane

Chiang Mai’s best bike lane – Here it is :

No red trucks
No big busses
No 10 wheel trucks
No Parking of cars allowed,
No overtaking allowed
50 km speed limit
No pot holes

Wing 41 North - South Road

Wing 41 North – South Road

but .. no bicycles allowed in RTAF Wing 41

and the PM is promoting bicycle riding?
Can somebody tell the CO @ Wing 41 ?

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1984 – Chiang Mai Style -Little Nephew is Watching You

Admirers of the handsome Chiang Mai Mayor Tessanai Buranapakorn, Nephew of Provincial Administrative Organisation President Boonlert B, may regret the fact that since the abrupt change of  government last May, the seemingly endless procession of new posters on the streets of town showing our leader’s exploits have come to an end.

To compensate, at various locations around town, however Little Nephew’s eyes in the form of spy cameras will be recording our every move.

 Nimman Spy Cameras

Nimman Spy Cameras

An apparent adjunct to this new costly paraphernalia are blue boxes in strategic locations.  The one below is  a few metres from a pair of cameras and strategically placed between two 24 hour grocery outlets.

Blue box scam

Perhaps the fact that traffic police are failing to enforce the prohibition on obstructing the footpath, thereby increasing the likelihood of injury to pedestrians is a factor in choosing the location of this device?

Blue Box Station

Blue Box Station

Looking North from Blue Box

Apparently the much heralded clean sweep of the footpaths of Bangkok is yet to reach the Rose of the North.

 

Illegal Parking - 5000 bt fine

Illegal Parking – 5000 bt fine

 

 

 

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Creative but NO Dialogue

14th December 2014 is the final day for Chiang Mai Design Week under the auspices of the TCDC ( Thailand Creative Design Center, part of the Prime Minister’s office), events and displays having commenced on the 6th .

This may come a surprise to many Thai folk who cannot read English, as the many signs around town advertising the event are all in English.  As for the residents of this multi-cultural city those who can, they might have expected the week to feature visiting presenters from ASEAN and wider afield.

On 12th an event advertised as “Creative Dialogue” was held between 4 and 7 pm.  I went knowing only that I wanted to hear one of the nine speakers, who lucky for me turned out to be the first.  No program was on hand so I did not know what to expect in the three hour session, except dialogue.  All the talks were given in Thai and simultaneous translation was given by a headset, but apart from myself I could see no other foreign faces in the packed to over flowing auditorium.After 70 minutes with 4 very interesting presentations by imaginative and inspiring folk all of whom were from Thailand and working here I decided to depart.

Black Tape

Why did I leave early? Because I felt somewhat like the folk in the above protest photo taken from the Bangkok Post. No the police were not breathing down my neck but no time had been given for dialogue, neither among the speakers, nor with the audience.

Maybe in my case this was a good thing as when the first speaker told us how the use of earth and vegetation to protect riverbanks is far more effective and far less costly than the present unabated building of concrete walls along the Ping River, I might have been moved to chip in with a comment critical of the government.  Similarly I was saved the task of correcting one speaker who mistakenly said that roadside vegetation reduces noise problems or the comment that Yang Na is a native tree in Chiang Mai, while all the evidence suggests otherwise.

I feel sad for the other attendees though, who must have had questions they could not raise in a timely manner, and those who went away with misinformation or the impression that dialogue means passively listening.

I suggest TCDC consider these criticisms and develop a more consultative and participatory approach to their work.

They have built an impressive resource center with a spacious large library with a wonderful collection of titles, almost all in English. To use the library one must pay an annual subscription which Chiang Mai’s many design professionals will find a good investment.

The library and meeting room is situated in the grounds of the Lanna Ladies Club which is at the corner of the road from the moat to the White Chedi, just east of the President Hotel.

 

 Lanna Ladies Club GardenTCDC Library Chiang MaiTCDC wires Priority No 1TCDC Street Trees Lagerstroemia

These pictures show:

1. the Ladies Club lawn looking south, lovely to play lawn bowls if they can stand the heat of the sun.

2. The TCDC building with the library on the top floor.

3. The priority given to electric wires over an old tree, cut to suit. Rather than placing the wires underground, beginning from the road, they have been extended some 20 metres ontot the TCDC land and then placed underground to travel a short distance beneath the car park where trees for shade are not planted.

4. Trees – all showy Lagerstroemias have been planted along the adjacent foot path where wires are not an issue. Had the designer read Dr Preecha Ongprasert’s doctoral thesis on the street trees of Chiang Mai, this is the last genus they would have planted. Many straight growing local species including evergreen trees would be preferable.

Judging from the excellent turnout at Friday’s event Chiang Mai Design Week must be regarded as a success in providing opportunities for networking among professionals.

Next year the organisers might like to consider how they can make a contribution beneficial to the great majority of Chiang Mai folk including the many who will likely gain no benefit from the kind of high end design displayed this year.

Post Script:

Adjacent to TCDC is the Provincial Electoral Office, now turned into a display venue, and behind that a few ancient trees and pond. Rubbish is all around, but a clean up by a group of volunteers like iServe could turn this into a delightful mini park away from the grime and hustle and bustle and stench of the Mueng Mai market.

 Big Tree &  Rubbish

 

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Low Stress Bike Routes – CMU, 700 year stadium, Huai Teng Tao

As part of a recent government initiative to improve cycling facilities in Chiang Mai a 17 million baht bike path from Huai Keow to the International Convention and Exhibition Center to the north along Irrigation Canal Rd is proposed.

Here we suggest something less ambitious but better serving cycling having earlier alluded to pitfalls in expensive project spending   , ( where Sunday Bike Club member Dr Nirandorn also suggests different priorities.)

The first point to mention is that the seldom used convention center is not an important travel destination, whereas Huai Teng Tao, 700 Year Stadium and to a lesser extent Chiang Mai University are.

The second point is this analysis is based on the need for low stress routes to make cycling cool, safe and attractive for an average, as opposed to say a hardy Tour de France cyclist.  Divided highways with little shade, and fast cars and trucks thundering by are no place for school students to brave on a bicycle, so we present alternatives.

Below are snaps from Google Earth. please click on each picture to see our analysis and again to magnify the image.

700 Year Stadium to Huai Teng Tao

Huai Keow to 700 Year Stadium

Huai Keow to 700 Year Stadium

The photos below are at a finer resolution with the minor roads overlaid in white:

The route from Chang Peuk Junction via soi 17 ends jst to the right of th red marker for moo 1. There a number of interesting possibilities for a bike path heading north from here , skirting the housing estates to Huai Teng Tao.

Huai Keow Chang Peuk Intersection to soi 17Chang Peuk Intersection to CMU Sports center

Your comments are welcome.

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A “ChiangMai Urban Landscape Model” on 4th December 2014

“ChiangMai Urban Landscape Model.”   *

ChiangMai's Entrance in Transformation

Over the long history of the development of the Earth countless species of living things have evolved. As a result of this evolution, and given its fortunate geographical position, Thailand has some of the greatest diversity of plant life on Earth. For example there are more species of orchids and also of the ginger family in Thailand than in any other country. The orchids and the gingers, both with their fantastic beauty and variety, however, do not live in isolation. They are plants of the forest, one growing mostly on the branches of trees, the other in the shade beneath them.

The trees of our country also show great variation in appearance, form and mode of living, with over 1000 species recorded in the north. Yet for those of us growing up the fertile plains of the valleys, and in the towns and cities, this may come as a surprise. When we look around we see mostly a few varieties of economic trees and of ornamental trees planted for shade and color. Most of the latter either come from distant continents, from Africa, Australia or America or if from Thailand from distant provinces.

As a result, our society is so losing touch with the natural world, that we have come to regard living trees as if they were inanimate pieces of furniture, perhaps at times also beautiful, but never-the-less just objects of utility to be shuffled around at will or cut or destroyed. So it is little wonder that we tend to shrug off news that a swathe of trees has gone for a road widening, or that yet another damaging fire sweeps through the forest destroying natural regeneration.

With this attitude we stand to lose much of our natural heritage and what makes the place where we live unique.

To counter this we propose here in Chiang Mai we develop a program to reverse this trend and to bring our community, and especially the younger generation, back in touch with nature, and in particular the natural heritage of Chiang Mai.

So here in the city, near our river the Mae Ping we are beginning to replant the trees which grew here in ancient times as an early step in the development of the ChiangMai Urban Landscape Model.

Rather than planting trees in the tradition of feudal Europe, evenly spaced and one species, the model copied by the roads department, our model aims to be true to the natural heritage of the place we plant.

Shady Shorea Soi

This means selecting trees native to the location and its natural diversity, and attempting to restore this diversity in our parks and gardens. Similarly along the roads and lanes of the town we prefer a mix to reduce the problems of loss and disease which can result where only one species is planted.

So for example near the river we are guided by remnants of the ancient forests and by a study of similar riverine environments.

Mae Hia Nai Forest

Mae Hia Nai Forest

We find Hopea odorata growing at the Forest Office, Holoptelea integrifolia (Thai names here) , Drypetes roxburghii at the McKean Rehabilitation Center, while Anogeissis accuminata grows both in a riverside cemetery, and with Aphanamixis polystachia and Dipterocarpus turbinatus on the banks of the Nan River and tributaries of the Ping.

Further from the river and streams species such as Shorea roxburghii and Irvingia malayana and others become prominent until one reaches the Tectona grandis – Teak zone at the edge of Doi Suthep.

Along with the issue of selecting the right trees for the right place comes that of their placing and management. As almost all of our local trees have an erect habit growing them near, power lines and large buildings need not pose a problem so long as any pruning is restricted to lateral branches and the tops of the trees are allowed to soar and the root zone is protected from undue disturbance. This means guidelines for tree planting and maintenance are an essential element of a ChiangMai Urban Landscape Model, along with training programs for utility and garden workers and managers.

As originators of this concept BIG Tree in Town and Gum Hak Doi Suthep welcome community involvement in developing a working model uniquely suited to Chiang Mai.

 

*  Lead photo – As one enters Chiang Mai from the Narawat bridge over the Ping River on the left in front of the Governor’s Residence is a green space laid out in the style of Baroque Europe. There is but a handful of trees with a clump of exotic deciduous Delonix regia providing a patch of shade. In the heat of the afternoon one sometimes sees an occasional tourist taking refuge there. Elsewhere all is hot and avoided. In ancient times one might have found 30 large trees providing cool shade in such a fertile spot.

This photo shows stakes laid out in preparation for a community planting event for Thai Environment Day 4th December 2014 at 8:00 am.

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