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Singapore allocates S$1B to enhance pedestrian safety and accessibility for seniors

Singapore allocates S$1 billion for pedestrian safety, sheltered linkways, and senior-friendly bus stops. Over the next decade, funds will retrofit pedestrian bridges with lifts, enhancing accessibility.



Source: LTA

SINGAPORE: During the Committee of Supply (COS) debate on Tuesday (5 March) for the Transport Ministry’s budget, Senior Minister of State Amy Khor and Senior Parliamentary Secretary Baey Yam Keng unveiled several new measures.

These include the allocation of about S$1 billion by the Government to enhance safety for pedestrians on neighbourhood streets across all towns and select private estates.

The funds will also be utilized to construct more sheltered linkways and upgrade bus stops to cater to the needs of seniors.

Over the next decade, additional funds will be disbursed to retrofit more pedestrian overhead bridges with lifts, contributing to improved accessibility.

As part of the ongoing initiatives by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to prioritize walking and cycling, plans are underway to convert up to two road lanes along sections of Zion Road and Sims Place into new cycling paths and wider footpaths by 2026.

Stricter rules for PMAs

Furthermore, there are upcoming regulatory changes for mobility scooters, or personal mobility aids (PMAs).

Effective from 2025, these modifications include a reduced speed limit of 6km/h, size restrictions on the devices, and a new prerequisite for users to be certified as having walking difficulties or relevant medical needs.

The allocated additional funding of S$1 billion for the improvement of transport infrastructure in the next decade is a component of the broader S$3.5 billion fund dedicated to the national Age Well SG programme.

This comprehensive initiative extends its coverage to housing, active ageing, and care services, with the overarching goal of promoting independent living for seniors within the community.

When queried, the authorities were unable to furnish a detailed breakdown of how the allocated $1 billion would be distributed.

They clarified that due to the intention to involve the community in the decision-making process before project finalization, both the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and the LTA could only furnish implementation and cost details after thorough consultations with stakeholders.

Dr Khor unveils Friendly Streets Initiative for 10 more towns

Dr Khor disclosed that the Friendly Streets initiative is set to extend its coverage to 10 additional towns, namely Bedok, Buangkok, Bukit Panjang, Holland/Buona Vista, Choa Chu Kang, Jurong East, Pek Kio, Punggol, Sembawang, and Tiong Bahru/Havelock.

These towns have been identified due to their higher proportion of seniors or young families.

Moreover, private estates with notable activity areas and essential amenities nearby will also be designated as “Friendly Streets,” although specific details were not provided.

The primary objective of this initiative is to enhance the safety and comfort of walking and cycling.

This will be achieved by introducing pedestrian-friendly features such as extended green-man signals and kerb-free crossings in areas with significant pedestrian traffic and proximity to key amenities.

Initially announced in 2023, the plan aims to encompass all towns by 2030. The initiative is currently undergoing testing in five locations, including Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Batok West, Tampines, Toa Payoh, and West Coast.

To determine the specific locations for implementing pedestrian-friendly features in the next set of 10 towns, community engagement is scheduled to commence in late 2024.

This inclusive approach involves soliciting input from the community to ensure the effectiveness and relevance of the implemented measures.

Allocating funds for covered linkways, bus stop upgrades, and lift retrofits

As part of the newly allocated S$1 billion funds, a significant portion will be dedicated to the construction of additional covered linkways.

These linkways aim to connect MRT stations with more Friendly Street locations and key amenities within an 800m radius.

LTA will conduct comprehensive site studies to identify suitable locations for these essential linkways, supplementing the existing 285km already built, according to Dr Khor.

The plan also includes the upgrading of existing bus stops to incorporate senior-friendly features, with a specific focus on locations frequented by the elderly.

Singapore currently boasts around 5,000 bus stops, and since 2019, the LTA has been progressively enhancing some of them. These enhancements include illuminated bus information panels, additional seating with arm and backrests, and dedicated space for wheelchair users.

While a previous scheme targeted the improvement of 360 bus stops by mid-2025, the exact number that will benefit from the new funds remains unclear.

Furthermore, the initiative outlines the retrofitting of more pedestrian overhead bridges with lifts, prioritizing those near major public transport nodes and healthcare institutions.

The LTA had previously expressed intentions in 2023 to install lifts at over 110 existing overhead bridges, complementing the ongoing retrofitting of 87 bridges and another 20 slated for upgrades within the next two years.

With the infusion of additional funds, the LTA plans to expand this effort, yet the specific number of retrofitted bridges and their locations will be determined after the completion of technical studies.

Tightening regulations on mobility scooters

Amid growing public concerns over the misuse of mobility scooters by able-bodied individuals, the government is set to implement more stringent regulations around 2025.

This decision follows extensive engagements with various stakeholders, including the National Delivery Champions Association, food delivery platforms, mobility scooter retailers, seniors, and social service agencies, as revealed by Mr Baey.

The forthcoming rules are a response to the perceived misuse of mobility scooters, and they will be implemented after necessary legal changes are made.

While specific timelines will be announced later, Mr Baey emphasized a commitment to ensuring a smooth transition, with increased on-the-ground education efforts to raise awareness about the impending changes.

The MOT clarified that the new requirement for medical certification will not affect users of manual or motorized wheelchairs, as the misuse concerns predominantly involve mobility scooters.

To minimize inconvenience for legitimate users, those receiving subsidies from the Assistive Technology Fund or Seniors’ Mobility and Enabling Fund will be automatically recognized as bona fide users without requiring additional proof.

For others, MOT is collaborating with relevant agencies to explore alternative forms of certification or identification.

Importantly, users of mobility scooters are not currently required to obtain certification from healthcare professionals, and ample time will be provided for compliance once the process is established.

As part of the regulatory adjustments for mobility scooters, the MOT has announced a reduction in the speed limit from the current 10km/h to 6km/h.

This aligns with a “typical brisk walking pace,” emphasizing the intended role of mobility scooters as a walking replacement.

Acknowledging that most existing mobility scooters have higher speed limits, MOT assures users and retailers that there will be a grace period for adjustment, with a recommendation for retailers to clear their current stock before 2025.

Existing users are permitted to continue using their mobility scooters within the new speed limit, either by gauging the pace of pedestrians or using speedometers.

Additionally, size restrictions have been introduced, limiting mobility scooters to a width of 70cm, length of 120cm, height of 150cm, and laden weight of 300kg.

These dimensions mirror the current restrictions for mobility scooters used on public transport. Mr Baey emphasized the authorities’ awareness of a small proportion of users requiring larger PMAs due to physical conditions, and enforcement officers will exercise discretion in such cases.

Looking ahead, the Active Mobility Advisory Panel, led by Mr Baey, will conduct a review of weight criteria for active mobility devices.

The objective is to assess if an increase in the weight limit can enhance safety, particularly for devices like power-assisted bicycles. This forward-looking approach aims to strike a balance between regulatory requirements and the diverse needs of users.

Expanding cycling infrastructure

In 2023, a substantial 48km of cycling paths were integrated across 14 towns, marking a significant stride in enhancing cycling infrastructure. Building on this momentum, the LTA has outlined plans for 2024, aiming to construct new cycling paths in 23 towns and estates.

Mr Baey affirmed that, by the end of 2024, all HDB towns and estates will be equipped with cycling paths, further promoting sustainable and active modes of transportation.

Specifically, in the case of Zion Road, LTA is set to convert up to two of the six road lanes along a 700m stretch between River Valley Road and Ganges Avenue.

This transformation will result in a widened footpath and the introduction of a new cycling path connecting to Alexandra Park Connector.

Similarly, at Sims Place, LTA envisions repurposing two of the four lanes across a 300m stretch in front of Sims Vista Market and Food Centre. This initiative will involve creating a widened footpath, establishing a new cycling path, and constructing a covered linkway.

Both projects are slated to commence later in 2024, with completion expected by 2026, as confirmed by LTA.

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GE sure around the corner.
This is one of The Sensible Policy & Money Well Spent by PAP idiots. I

This will certainly create activity within the construction sector, more foreign talent needed, much needed GDP points, cronies to the regime will benefit further, excuse to increase prices of services linked to this safety and accessibility premise to include hdb prices too !!!

The people, whom all of the above is for, … will pay for it in the end somewhere along the line !!!

Just don’t expect something for nothing, … not from Sg Inc !!!

There are plenty of places in HDB estates where pedestrian bridges can be integrated with adjacent HDB flats. That way pedestrians can use the existing lifts in HDB flats instead of having to construct two hilariously slow lifts to each pedestrian bridge. How about trying that out?

I also don’t understand the need for more traffic crossing. They seem to be popping up everywhere now. It slows down traffic which includes buses. How about more overhead bridges and underpasses first?

Dont be fooled.
Any project needs to be ‘approved’ by Citizen’s Consultative Committee.
Not only that, the “advisor” must stamp his dhoby seal.

Such mechanisms are never revealed to citizens, voters
Dream on.

I waited for 38 years to have a bus stop within 300m of my block.
And there is no shelter from my block to the new bus stop.
Wait another 38 years… will be 76 years old.