January 28, 2013

Of garbage trucks and traffic

In any other (civilized) country, I would think that a dump truck would have more sense to do its round at a certain time of the day when the streets are not busy with traffic. Or at least, I would have thought that would be the most logical thing to do.

Not quite so in downtown Bangkok, where I have discovered, on several occasions that a huge-ass dump truck found it very necessary for it to pick up garbage on a weekday morning AND during the busiest hour of the day in a fairly small two-lane soi.

The soi, by default has already been littered by street vendors setting up their food stalls and frying their stuff in open fire, and also is a make-shift car park where you’ll easily find vehicles parked on both sides of the soi, making the soi narrower than it already is.Top that with a massive dump truck hogging the ONLY road accessible to a school during the busiest hours in the morning while vehicles of various sizes driving into the soi to drop kids off to school as other parents/guardians walking into the very soi on foot or on a motorbike or even bicycle while carrying their child in their arms or as a pillion rider, the result is just mayhem – there just isn’t much room left! Cars and pick-up trucks that get through there usually just zoomed past at quite a speed without checking their blind spots.

It gets even more bizarrely annoying. While there are several people stationed there (including a traffic police) whose job is to direct traffic, I don’t think they are particularly apt in doing their job well. Having walked that soi every day to drop Spud to school, I have a sense that those people tend to prioritse traffic as opposed to pedestrians. Many a time, I was told to wait for a car to move first instead of them telling the car to stop for me and my child – a 13 kg child whom I was carrying in my arms under the sweltering heat

This is what I don’t understand – I am walking, I am a pedestrain, I have a child with me and I am carrying tons of stuff at the same time. How is it that pedestrians like me not get the priority as opposed to those who are sitting all snug and comfy in their cars?

This is how bad the soi can be with a garbage truck in the way:

As for the dump truck, could they not just change their schedule to pick up the garbage at night instead of during the busy peak morning where a million other people and cars are trying to get to the same soi to send their kids to school?

Safety is relative in this country. Just a few days ago, there was some crazy moron who decided to throw glass, bottles and what nots from the balcony of a condo along the soi onto this very same street. As both Spud and me walked passed it, the road was littered with broken porcelains and other unidentifyiable stuff. It was quite scary!

It is things like this that can drive me absolutely mental.

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