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Showing posts with label Wheelchairs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wheelchairs. Show all posts

Monday, August 21, 2017

#Bangkok gets a ‘walk of fame’

The new pedestrian walkway at the Pathumwan intersection is as lovely as it is accessible to all

PATHUM MEANS “lotus” in Thai, and the new skywalk at Bangkok’s Pathumwan intersection is designed to resemble a vast lotus pond, a peaceful heaven above the clouds of exhaust fumes rising from the traffic sweeping along the road.

The elevated walkway – it still needs a name – encompasses 3,000 square metres and connects Siam Discovery, Siam Square, MBK, the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre and the National Stadium.

Siam Synergy – an alliance of entrepreneurs in the downtown Siam area – funded the Bt350-million project, which replaces a much narrower pedestrian bridge that people found less than “user-friendly”.
 
  The new skywalk, which the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration now owns, emerged from the concept of “universal design”, meaning it’s handy and helpful for everyone, not just shoppers. The needs of the elderly and disabled are attended to with ramps and stair lifts.

“This is a friendly-design skywalk, the first of its kind in Bangkok,” Nation TV host Krisana Lalai, who’s been using a wheelchair for 20 years, said on a recent broadcast of his show “Khui Kan Yam Chao”. 

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 “The old pedestrian overpass was not designed for the disabled, the elderly or tourists hauling large pieces of luggage,” said Krisana, who’s also president of the Friendly Design for All Foundation. 

“This one has the sloped ramps and lifts. The drain covers are aesthetically pleasing as well as functional and safe – no wide gaps to swallow my wheels.”


 Chadatip Chutrakul, chief executive at Siam Piwat, a partner in Siam Synergy, told Krisana on the show that he was the main inspiration for the skywalk.

“Three years ago I saw you struggling to cross the intersection from the side where Siam Paragon, Siam Centre and Siam Discovery are. You were doing a survey of friendly-design construction and found the stairs too narrow. That’s when I decided to build a new walkway that would be accessible to all.”

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