When a Rolls-Royce held up traffic in Tiong Bahru last week, the driver claimed he couldn’t get past a large, parked BMW.
Whether or not that was true, the incident highlighted how narrow the streets were for both parking spaces and traffic.
So it’s timely that the offending parking spaces have been now been removed for at least 6 months.
In their place will be wider footpaths for pedestrians, as walkability is enhanced in the area.
Fans of the old-school estate of Tiong Bahru may recall its narrow roads where roadside parking is common.
Seng Poh Road, notably, featured slanted parking lots that forced motorists to enter bonnet-first.
Precariously, drivers then had to reverse carefully into traffic when coming out of the lots.
These treacherous parking spaces are now gone, due to a 6-month trial by the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
In its press release on 9 Mar, the LTA said it would be reimagining road infrastructure across Singapore to better support public transport, walking and cycling.
One of the places affected would be the Tiong Bahru estate, where community spaces and walkability would be enhanced from the end of Mar.
Thus, since 10 Mar, signs were put up on Seng Poh Road warning of the impending closure of 20 parking lots – 32 to 46 and 1 to 5.
This was to take place from Monday (28 Mar).
Sure enough, on Monday, traffic cones were placed to cordon off the parking spaces.
The Tiong Bahru Estate community Facebook page informed the public of the pedestrianisation of the area, and urged drivers to be patient with the slower traffic.
Another road, Lim Liak Street, also had its parking lots removed. Eng Hoon Road was totally cordoned off so the road could be fully pedestrianised.
In a subsequent tongue-in-cheek post on Monday (28 Mar), Tiong Bahru Estate said “jittery drivers” wouldn’t be able to meet “drivers with lousy parking skills” on Seng Poh Road any more.
Of course, by “jittery drivers”, they were referring to the Rolls-Royce that caused a commotion on Seng Poh Road on Thursday (24 Mar) – just 4 days before the parking lots were removed.
The Rolls-Royce’s driver refused to move his car, holding up many cars behind him, because he claimed there was insufficient space to move.
He was presumably referring to a white BMW X5 that was parked in one of the now-removed slanted lots with its back protruding out into the road.
Other road users begged to differ, telling the Rolls-Royce driver that there’s more than enough space for him to get through.
But the man insisted there wasn’t, asking if they would pay if his precious, expensive car got damaged.
A few days later, a photo was shared allegedly of the Rolls-Royce driver’s point of view.
It went some way towards illuminating why the man decided there was insufficient space for his vehicle to pass safely.
Considering the sizes of the Rolls-Royce and BMW, it seems like the road was literally not big enough to accommodate both of them.
The LTA’s decision to remove the parking spaces is obviously not related to the Rolls-Royce incident, which occurred later.
However, the incident did serve to highlight how the narrow streets of Tiong Bahru could be better off with fewer motorists squeezing through.
Under the LTA plan, the parking lots will make way for wider footpaths, planter boxes and seats so people have a more enjoyable time walking and visiting the shops.
The narrower roads will also make it safer for people to cross over.
The lack of parking will mean that people will be encouraged to take public transport – e.g. the upcoming Havelock MRT station – to the area instead of driving.
Now, that sounds like a much more conducive atmosphere to relax in – rather than having large vehicles jostling for space in a neighbourhood that should be more famous for its retro charm than traffic woes.
Thanks to the Rolls-Royce incident, Singaporeans may now agree that something needs to be done to reduce the car problem in Tiong Bahru.
Thus, the LTA plan to prioritise pedestrians couldn’t have kicked off at a more appropriate time.
We’ll be eagerly awaiting to see whether the situation improves in the next 6 months.
Do you think it’s a good idea for the parking spaces to be removed? Do share your thoughts with us.
Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at email@example.com.
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