'Slow City' Chiang Mai cuts speed limit to 40km/h

'Slow City' Chiang Mai cuts speed limit to 40km/h

Chiang Mai has introduced the so-called "slow city" concept in a bid to reduce the number of road fatalities - with the inner-city speed limit now 40 kilometres per hour.

Chiang Mai Governor Suriya Prasatbandit said the recent accident in which three cyclists were killed and two others were injured in the province's Doi Saket district after being struck by an alledged drunk driver prompted the provincial authority to take the extra step on top of the usual road safety campaigns and drunk-driving checkpoints.

Chiang Mai is one of the provinces that promotes bicycle riding and bike lanes to encourage an alternative means of transport, exercise and energy saving, Suriya said.

The province and the Nakhon Chiang Mai Municipality are working together to improve inner-city roads so people can bicycle safely, he said, adding that pedestrian and bicycle-only roads will be established.

Sawing Tan-ud, coordinator for a network promoting Chiang Mai self-management, said his group had discussed combating pollution by lowering the number of vehicles in the city area and reducing the speed limit to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

He urged the authorities to seriously reinforce the 40km/h speed limit.Sawing said to promote Chiang Mai's status as a green city in tandem with the slow city concept, his group would encourage inner-city residents to grow edible plants in fenced gardens.

Chiang Mai Mayor Tassanai Buranupakorn said his office was responding to the slow city policy and was also accommodating pedestrians by building bridges across the city moat, while it planned to launch 21 spots where people could borrow bicycles.

Many footpaths had been adjusted to now include ramps and various temples in the inner city had bicycle parking lots, he said.The municipality had 20-seat buses with bike racks operating in the inner city, he added.

Tassanai said to enhance the green and health and safety concept the municipality had asked for co-operation in keeping new inner-city structures under 12 metres in height.

He said people wanting to construct a building in the inner city were also required to incorporate Lanna architecture and paint it in earth tone.

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