City needs to do more
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City needs to do more

Halfway into his term as city governor, Chadchart Sittipunt still rates himself a five out of 10, which is the same as last year's self-appraisal. Judging from that, we can only hope there is room for improvement.

Mr Chadchart, who ran as an independent candidate, won the 2022 gubernatorial poll by a landslide, sweeping over 1.3 million votes.

In an opinion poll last year, the public response was underwhelming. Mr Chadchart said he would exceed public expectations. But his term so far has been rather quiet, with few stand-out achievements.

In a presentation marking his second year in office, Mr Chadchart said Bangkok is an ideal place for tourists, but residents may find themselves frustrated or exhausted when travelling.

Some say they have a low quality of life. He said the Traffy Fondue online reporting application, which the BMA started in 2022, allows people to lodge complaints and ask for action, with a follow-up system including reaction from concerned authorities.

He claims that city officials now solve problems for complainants quicker than they did before, from two months previously to two days on average now. More than 467,000 out of 590,000 complaints had been tackled, accompanied by a change in mindset among bureaucrats, who have adopted a new service-first approach.

The reality on the ground might be different. Amid the BMA's plan to overhaul pedestrian areas, two people recently lost their lives: a man plunged into a tube well in Lat Phrao, and a motorcyclist in Thon Buri fell into a drain opening on an underpass. Both causes suggest the Traffy Fondue channel might not be enough for the BMA to oversee the safety of its citizens. Mr Chadchart might have to adopt a proactive and preventive approach instead of waiting for the public to complain.

In a press conference to reflect on his record, Mr Chadchart, who promised to end flooding problems during the election campaign, sounded more realistic.

He admits the problem will not be tackled overnight in some areas. But he promised the water would be drained more quickly.

Mr Chadchart mentioned quite a few successes, such as progress in his one million trees planting project and improvements to footpaths in several districts as part of a plan to improve the city's walkability.

He has pledged to increase public spaces by providing more parks. He is still sticking by his "15-minute parks" plan in which green areas are scattered about which residents can reach within a 15-minute walk.

Yet the governor didn't go into detail about how the remaining 400 projects which he promised during the poll campaign would be implemented by the end of his term.

In fact, some ask if Mr Chadchart is really serious about a greener Bangkok. Critics who participated in hearings for a new town plan lashed out at the governor for being "pro-developer''.

If Mr Chadchart cares about the impact of climate change on Bangkok, which is located in a low-lying area, and how the city will mitigate it, he did not address the issue in his presentation.

It's unclear if he is aware of the urban heat island menace, which has intensified given the rise in tall buildings like condominiums and commercial malls in past years. If he is, the governor has to look at the big picture and work out control measures, aggressively confronting the problem. His tiny 15-minute parks may not be the answer.


Bangkok Post editorial column

These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.

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