SINGAPORE: Residents of Marine Parade have called for more measures to make the pavements around a roundabout safer, after an elderly woman died from injuries sustained in a crash on Monday (Mar 18).
Member of Parliament (MP) for Mountbatten Lim Biow Chuan said on Tuesday he will talk to the Land Transport Authority (LTA) about how they can make the area safer.
An 82-year-old woman died in hospital after she was struck by a car while she was on the pavement by a roundabout between Marine Parade Road and Amber Road.
Mr Lim told Channel NewsAsia that he felt "terribly sorry to hear of the death of the pedestrian" and is obtaining more details on the accident victim.
The two-lane roundabout, or "circus" as residents call it, has three exits that lead to Marine Parade Road, Amber Road and the Silversea condominium. According to them, the roundabout is heavily used by drivers to get to the city via Mountbatten Road or towards Parkway Parade on Marine Parade Road.
Residents living in the condominiums along Amber Road and Amber Gardens have to walk on foot along the roundabout to get to transport nodes or nearby shopping areas.
Some of them had appealed to Mr Lim during a dialogue in 2017 for safer roads.
"The residents gave feedback and felt that the circus is actually a very dangerous place. They suggested that they (LTA) either put road humps or other measures to slow the traffic, or put up safety barriers like crash barriers," said a meeting participant, who wanted to remain anonymous.
He added that he could see cars "zooming past" on the roundabout on a daily basis.
"Some even suggested putting up traffic lights like what you have in Newton Circus. The nearest traffic light is outside Parkway Parade and it doesn't slow the traffic down," he said.
Another resident Mrs Dawn Seow said that road users often do not drive safely near the roundabout. Her family had a few close brushes after moving to a condominium in the area a year ago.
"People don't seem to give way so there were two, three times when we had to stop the car suddenly," said Mrs Seow.
Another resident, Mr Michael, said he uses the roundabout as a driver three to four times a day and is very cautious when he is on it.
"The people don't stop at the exits and they approach the roundabout at full speed. At this roundabout, I have near-misses at least once a week," he added.
"Roundabouts are not in the driving test in Singapore so people are not used to them. Whenever you are here or by the stadium, roundabouts are always hazardous. This one over here, it's the speed that people go around and [the] lack of lane discipline that is the problem."
NARROW PAVEMENT SHARED BY PEDESTRIANS, CYCLISTS
During the dialogue session, residents raised concerns about the narrow pavement on the perimeter of the roundabout and requested for a wider footpath.
Acting on their feedback, Mr Lim said that LTA had widened the 70 metre-long footpath from 1.5 metre to 1.8 metre wide sometime in December 2017. Some shrubs along stretches of the footpath were also removed to increase walking space and allow motorists a better view of pedestrians when approaching the roundabout.
While there were also requests for a side barrier, Mr Lim said that LTA's assessment found the site to be too narrow to install a side barrier as it would need a base mounted onto the path. The footpath is already on a raised road kerb, Mr Lim added.
To advise motorists on the speed limit, LTA has also erected traffic signs in response to concerns from the residents.
Despite the improvement works, residents still find the pavement too narrow.
"It's a bit scary yes. I definitely will try to go a bit closer (away from the road) but it's very narrow," said resident Mrs Knudsen.
"I was told by our concierge to be careful when we walk here. Everybody, we walk here because we want to get to the shopping area. It's very narrow. You have bikers and people walking using this pavement, and in both directions," she added.
Resident Madam Tan Giak Kee said those who live around the area have to use the footpath when they leave their condominium.
With a lack of pedestrian crossings, pedestrians may it unnerving when crossing on the roundabout exits, such as the one just outside her condominium Silversea, she said.
"The footpath is already so narrow and with the heavy traffic, it makes me nervous to walk on this path," Mdm Tan said.
She added that due to the construction of the Thomson-East Coast Line nearby, there are signs instructing cyclists to dismount and push their bicycles but people rarely adhere to it. She has told off cyclists who continue to ride on the narrow pavement.
"Once I saw a cyclist and I told him to dismount because there were other people on the pavement like mothers with their strollers but he scolded me back and said everybody does this," she said.
Residents Mrs Ankita Pareek and Ms Wang Shirley said that there is a need for roads to be safer due to families with young children living in the area and the close proximity to schools nearby. Among them are Canadian International School, Tao Nan School, Tanjong Katong Girls' School and Tanjong Katong Secondary School and several kindergartens.
"They should put up some barricades to protect the people walking. We are very careful when we walk here especially because we have small kids. There are many narrow pavements around this area, up to Tanjong Katong Road," Mrs Pareek said.
"There are always people on scooters, bicycles on this narrow pavement. They don't wait for people who are walking, they just go 'ting ting ting' on their bell even if we have kids with us. They can't be bothered about safety," she added.
Resident Ms Janine Jacobs said: "I'm often walking with two small children near the roundabout towards Parkway Parade or the underpass, and even when on the sidewalk, cars are passing by at speed, which can feel so daunting."
She added that her apartment at The Seaview overlooks the roundabout and she often sees traffic accidents and near-misses from home. Ms Jacobs added that speed bumps, traffic lights, and anything that could slow the traffic down when approaching the roundabout would improve traffic in the area.
Following the accident, Mr Lim said that he will discuss with LTA the technical possibility of installing a road barrier even if it means that the footpath may become narrower.
"I will also ask LTA whether such road barriers can prevent a speeding car from crashing through," Mr Lim said.
"However, road safety requires every motorist to obey traffic rules as well. If the vehicle driver disregards traffic signs, drive recklessly and mount a raised road kerb, pedestrians will continue to be at risk," he added.