Local thai news site has reported that many complaints have been made by businesses in Walking Street to the Chon buri authorities concerning unauthorised signs being erected on buildings and over the street. These signs are alleged to be a public safety hazard and possible fire risk as they impede emergency vehicles. Pattaya’s walking street is famous for its large neon sign installations and it is common to see tourists taking selfies and photos. However, authorities have ordered that illegal signs must be removed within 30 days. Businesses have been told to cooperate so that fire trucks can travel unimpeded. Signs must be at a height greater than 5.2 meters.
other locals have expressed concern that the signs constitute a major tourist magnet for the area since it is a unique scene for taking photos for sharing on social media such as facebook and instagram. they fear that removing the signs will negatively affect the unique character of the area which with its bright neon signs and loud music is a big attraction for overseas tourists to come and visit. the large number of bright neon signs with animation and music has been compared to other Asian metropolises such as Hong Kong or Tokyo.
as we know, town planning ordinances are often poorly enforced in parts of South east Asia. In many instances, illegal extensions have been found to be made to buildings, with some owners even adding extra stories to their buildings without approval or by using illegitimate means such as bribery to construct non-compliant structures.
if you have seen the recent construction activity in Pattaya or elsewhere in Thailand you will notice that health and safety is often not up to Western expectations. It is shocking to see workers teetering on bamboo scaffolding supported only by a single wooden plank without any safety lines. This lax attitude may also extend to other aspects as owners seek to save money by skimping on construction materials and safety features.
it was only recently that a walking street bar caught fire due to a faulty electrical installation, damaging adjacent buildings and completely gutting the club. Luckily it occurred in the morning when the street was mostly empty and firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze without anyone being harmed. the venue is still empty several months later and has not yet been rebuilt by the owners.
many walking street venues allow smoking and are poorly ventilated with a lack of emergency exits, or exits that are poorly signed and illuminated. it is worth bearing in mind the possible escape routes in the event of an emergency when you visit a venue for the first time. venues are often crowded as well making it a significant safety hazard in the event of fire. however, we have not experienced a fire event in all our years of visiting. if you are aware of your surroundings and stay sharp then there is not much risk involved and if you are concerned you can ask the staff about where the exits are and if they have fire prevention equipment.