SINGAPORE: In a recent thread on Reddit, a user voiced criticism directed at the National Parks Board (NParks), expressing frustration over the lack of attention to his previous attempts to communicate concerns to the relevant authorities.
The user, feeling disheartened, questioned the effectiveness of his individual voice, stating, “I’m just a nobody. Who’s going to listen to me?”
Undeterred by the perceived lack of response, the user decided to openly criticize NParks in a Reddit discussion, announcing plans to initiate a series of threads aimed at drawing attention to the issue through public scrutiny.
The intention is to shed light on concerns and encourage NParks to address them more effectively.
The specific concern raised by the user revolves around the hazards posed by shrubs planted along zebra crossings and signalized crossings.
Despite previous attempts to advise NParks on the matter, including suggesting the removal of such shrubs and discontinuing their future planting at crossings, the user claims their recommendations have fallen on deaf ears.
NParks, according to the user, only trims the shrubs occasionally, rather than taking more comprehensive action.
The user argues that NParks may not fully grasp the potential dangers of even short shrubs, emphasizing the risks they pose to both pedestrians and motorists.
To support this claim, the user shared dashcam footage from 2022 illustrating the hazards associated with shrubs near crossings.
This sentiment aligns with a parliamentary discussion in July 2017 when Ms Joan Pereira raised the issue.
In her parliamentary question to the Minister for Transport, she inquired about the Ministry’s assessment of motorists’ visibility at crossings partially covered by shrubs.
She also sought information on any standardized frameworks for assessment and pruning schedules to ensure pedestrian safety.
In response, former Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan clarified that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) establishes no-planting zones around pedestrian crossings to maintain clear visibility for motorists.
He noted that the size of these zones depends on various factors, such as road geometry and speed limits.
Additionally, NParks conducts monthly inspections to prevent greenery from obstructing visibility at crossings.
Despite these touted measures, the recent criticism from users suggests continuing concerns about the effectiveness of these practices in ensuring public safety. This is especially questionable in practice, given the video evidence showing shrubs near crossings.
In the incident referred to by the Reddit user, the tall shrubs, according to Google Maps, were removed months later and replaced with shorter plants.
Reddit users raise concerns over NParks’ shrub placement and road safety
In the comments section, several Reddit users echoed their agreement with the initial post, sharing their own experiences and concerns related to NParks and the placement of shrubs.
One user recounted encountering taller shrubs planted along Park Connector turns, similar to those seen in the video.
Expressing frustration, the user highlighted a specific incident where a nonchalant cyclist sped through a red light pedestrian crossing, seemingly oblivious to the obstructed line of sight for drivers.
The user emphasized the potential danger, referring to it as “an accident waiting to happen.”
Another user contributed to the discussion by pointing out that these plants can pose visibility issues for cars emerging from side roads.
The obstruction affects both the turning vehicle and those on the main road trying to spot the car.
The extent of the problem, the user noted, depends on the height and maintenance of the greenery.
Furthermore, the user stressed that it’s not just a concern for children; even if a child stops and looks, the view may still be obstructed.
In a similar vein, another user shared a personal anecdote, recalling a court case where a motorist collided with a cyclist at a zebra crossing.
The user explained that during the court proceedings, video evidence, including dashcam footage, revealed that the accident was likely a result of high bushes leading up to the crossing.
The user highlighted the common-sense understanding that the dense foliage made it difficult for motorists to see pedestrians, emphasizing the importance of addressing such visibility issues.
Users share divergent views on zebra crossing concerns
Contrary opinions surfaced among users discussing the issue, offering different perspectives on the matter.
One user presented an alternative viewpoint, suggesting that the specific scenario might not necessarily fall under the jurisdiction of a stat board issue.
The user suggested that kids should wait for cars to completely stop before crossing and mentioned that cars should slow down near crossings.
Even without bushes, people might try to cross quickly.
Another user suggested that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) could raise the zebra crossing, making drivers slow down and improving road safety.
The Original Poster (OP) contributed to the conversation, mentioning that he had previously suggested the idea of a raised zebra crossing to LTA, but their proposal did not yield any positive outcome.
Another user asserted that road safety matters like this should be addressed by LTA.
They recommended emailing LTA about potential dangers, mentioning that LTA usually responds and takes action.
However, they also thought the video showed the problem was more about the kids’ behavior than LTA’s issue.
In response, the OP clarified that they had contacted both LTA and NParks.
While LTA attributed the responsibility to NParks, acknowledging that NParks trims the bushes, the OP expressed frustration with NParks for not taking more decisive action, such as complete removal or cessation of planting shrubs at pedestrian and zebra crossings.
The OP believes Singapore’s roads should be safer, blaming both LTA for placing crossings at bends and NParks for not fully considering safety.
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