BANGKOK — Netizens on Monday were floored to see a pavement privately built by JW Marriot Hotel torn apart by City Hall, who said the material was not up to standard.
According to Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang, the pavement was destroyed on the hotel’s request because the path turned slippery when raining. JW Marriott refused to confirm whether this was the case.
“We don’t have any details yet,” public relations officer Alex Sasirote said by phone when questioned about City Hall’s explanation.
Built by the five-star hotel between Soi Sukhumvit 2 and 4, the upscale pavement was hailed by many advocates of pedestrian rights as superior to government-sponsored footpaths – many of which are plagued by random potholes, uneven ground and various obstacles.
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Anti-Hawkers, a Facebook page dedicated to advocating for a walkable city, first posted photos of the demolition on April 27 with a caption reporting that city officials had judged the structure “not up to the standard”. The move was hammered by many netizens mourning the ideal sidewalk.
“When the bureaucracy said the structure built by the private firms was not up to its standard, it’s true,” user Kritsanat Wangsakratit wrote. “The private firms build their stuff stoutly, beautifully and way beyond the bureaucracy’s standard.”
But governor Aswin insists it was JW Marriot who asked for the demolition, citing concerns that the pavement turned slippery when it rained.
“They were afraid that members of the public and tourists who walk by could suffer accidents,” Aswin told reporters.
Some netizens sided with City Hall and confirmed the area indeed becomes treacherous under the rain.
“I fell on my butt there once when the ground was wet,” Narin Gop Yenthanakorn wrote in a comment thread.
Additional reporting Teeranai Charuvastra