Thursday, May 16, 2024
HometransportClose to 5km of streets in places like Ang Mo Kio, Tampines...

Close to 5km of streets in places like Ang Mo Kio, Tampines to get pedestrian-friendly features

SINGAPORE – Close to 5km of roads across five neighbourhoods here will be retooled by 2025 to prioritise pedestrians, focus on calming vehicular traffic and improve the walking and cycling experience.

This is part of a “Friendly Streets” initiative announced earlier in 2023, which the authorities said would be trialled first in Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Batok West, Tampines, Toa Payoh and West Coast before it is refined and expanded to other towns.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Wednesday said it has carried out further studies and identified the specific locations within these neighbourhoods where the trials will be carried out.

They are:

A 730m stretch of Ang Mo Kio Street 31, between Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6 and Avenue 8;

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Bukit Batok Streets 31, 32 and 33, and stretches of Bukit Batok West Avenue 5 and Bukit Batok East Avenue 5, totalling 1.9km;

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A 390m stretch of Tampines Avenue 9, between Tampines Street 43 and Streets 44 and 45;

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About 1km of Lorong 1A and Lorong 2 Toa Payoh, between Toa Payoh Central and Lorong 1; and 

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A 770m stretch of West Coast Road, between West Coast Link and Clementi Avenue 2.

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LTA said these stretches were selected as many pedestrians and cyclists pass through them, and the locations are close to amenities such as markets, hawker centres, community clubs, MRT stations and schools.

The plan is to introduce features such as raised pedestrian crossings, kerbless crossings, as well as wider and more accessible footpaths at these five locations.

Traffic light crossings will prioritise pedestrians – traffic lights will be programmed to reduce the time it takes to activate the green man, and increase the duration of crossing time.

There will also be street signs and road markings to reduce traffic speeds, and remind drivers that they are entering areas that are meant to be more inclusive and people-friendly.

These features and measures are adapted from existing efforts to improve walking and cycling like school zones, silver zones and transit priority corridors.

Construction works are expected to start from the end of 2023.

LTA has said that each Friendly Street project will be unique and designed in partnership with its community so that it is tailored to local needs.

The authority is currently forming a task force for each trial location to conduct community engagement.

Each of these task forces will be chaired by the local grassroots adviser for the area and a representative from the Ministry of Transport, LTA said.

The other members will include town council representatives, grassroots leaders and government agencies, as well as representatives from relevant schools, and hawker or merchant associations, depending on the neighbourhood.

“We encourage residents and other stakeholders to participate actively in the making of these friendly streets,” LTA added.

Senior Minister of State for Transport Amy Khor, who is the MP for Hong Kah North, visited the Bukit Batok trial site on Wednesday with LTA staff.

Speaking to reporters after the visit, Dr Khor said a distinctive feature of the “Friendly Streets” scheme compared with other LTA efforts like school zones is the co-creation element.

“What we have observed is that community needs and challenges differ from town to town,” she said.

The authorities will work out features that are best suited for each location based on feedback received and site observations, she added.

Dr Khor said this will help ensure that the features are actually useful and will be utilised.

During her visit on Wednesday, she pointed out several natural and makeshift crossing points where kerb ramps or raised crossings could be installed, like at the junction outside Hong Kah North Community Club.

She said that while there are already some pedestrian-friendly features and traffic calming measures in the area, the initiative brings agencies and stakeholders together to look strategically at the gaps that need to be addressed.

She added that while the completion date is set for 2025, some of the works could be done in phases.

These include features like kerbless crossings, which are easier to do and do not interfere with other works being done.

Mr Chong Fui Jin, 60, said he would like to see more traffic light crossings rather than zebra crossings in his neighbourhood as he feels the former is safer for pedestrians.

The retired repairman, who has lived in Bukit Batok West for 30 years, added that some motorists may not notice people using zebra crossings and those driving fast may not be able to stop in time.

He said in Mandarin: “It is not good for seniors, especially those who are disabled. If there are traffic lights and the crossing time is longer, then it would be a different story.”

Another Bukit Batok West resident, Mr Tan Ah Huat, 75, feels the streets in his neighbourhood are already pretty safe for him and his wife, who is also 75 and has mobility issues.

On longer crossing times at traffic junctions, the former cabby said they are good for older people, but he understands why motorists may get frustrated.

“You cannot please everybody,” he added.

More On This Topic

LTA to test pedestrian-friendly streets in 5 towns by 2025

30 Silver Zones completed to improve road safety for seniors; LTA on track for 50 by 2025

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