I was stunned, amazed and speechless after reading today that “Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong Area Aims To Emulate Singapore’s Orchard Road”.
Where to start with this? First of all, why does anyone feel that emulating Orchard Road is good or necessary? The truth is there is only one Orchard Road and there is no need for another one or anything similar. A much better course of action would be to simply build on what they have already at Ratchaprasong…the positive’s I mean. Improve the infrastructure, clean up the area, make access to all of the malls easier for everyone. Another big improvement would be to lower the taxes on luxury goods to make them more accessible. There are many imported items that I can get much cheaper back in the States.
The other thing that struck me is the claim that traffic to the area increased by 27% last year and is projected to increase by 33% this year. With that type of growth they are obviously doing something right already, why try to emulate anywhere else when you are growing in leaps and bounds? If those numbers are in fact correct. Unfortunately there is no source mentioned for the figures so I have no idea who computed the traffic, the increase or the projections.
If they are looking at improvements to the Ratchaprasong area there are several things they could do that would be far more helpful than increasing lighting and security systems. Widening the BTS skywalk is a good start, but what about increasing the capacity of the BTS system itself? A 33% increase this year and a 30% increase in traffic next year means an additional 142,000 people per day coming to the Ratchaprasong area. That is darn close to double the number of visitors coming daily in 2011. How will the already overcrowded BTS handle all this extra traffic?
All those extra people certainly won’t be coming by road either. The area around Ratchaprasong is horrid for driving. What should be 5 lanes on Rajadamri Road is routinely just 2 lanes thanks to the street vendors, taxi’s, tuk tuk’s, buses and anyone else who feels inclined using the far left lanes as parking and the oncoming traffic using the far right lane as a 2nd lane. Other roads in the area are better, but not much.
To emulate Orchard Road would require that the entire Ratchaprasong area be razed and they begin anew with proper infrastructure, roads that are well planned and wide enough, sidewalks that are much wider and even and designated areas for public transport such as the taxi’s, busses, etc.
I think that the area is already successful, especially if the growth numbers are anywhere close to accurate. Sure there are improvements that could be made, but that is true pretty much everywhere. Nowhere is perfect, but if it strikes a chord with you then you will be happy visiting, shopping and eating there. Singapore has already done Orchard Road, there is really no need for another. Focus on what you do well already and improve the areas that need improvement and the world will notice.
Check out these similar posts: