Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Retiree raises alert about unsafe road

Jan 6, 2009

By Yeo Ghim Lay

RETIREE Chan Tian Soo, 67, recently stuffed pamphlets into the letter boxes of 50 of his neighbours in South Buona Vista, but he was not advertising anything.

Rather, he was warning them about the narrow and winding South Buona Vista Road near their homes.

In the pamphlet, Mr Chan alerted residents to previous accidents along the two-lane road and reminded them to drive safely.

He also informed them that he had written to the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to appeal for the road to be made safer. This is not the first time Mr Chan has written to the LTA about the road.

He told The Straits Times that he first raised the issue with the LTA in 2005, when he noticed that drivers were 'speeding like crazy' along the snaking road.

'It is very dangerous, especially when you have pedestrians crossing the road to get to work in the Science Park. There is no way for them to see if a car is coming,' said Mr Chan.

The road is no stranger to accidents. More than half of the 22 accidents there in 2003 and 2004 resulted from speeding.

The LTA has since lowered the speed limit there from 50kmh to 40kmh, and installed speed-regulating strips and markers to help motorists negotiate bends.

These actions have helped halve the number of accidents over the years, from 16 in 2003 to eight last year.

Although long vehicles such as trailer trucks and bendy buses have been banned from the road, Mr Chan said he sometimes still sees long vehicles using it and believes the authorities can do more.

'They should further reduce the speed limit to 30kmh and step up enforcement against speeding drivers,' he said.

Mr Chan, who uses the road a few times a week, said he has encountered unfriendly drivers who tailgate him when he keeps to the 40kmh speed limit.

'Some even honk and make rude gestures when they overtake me,' said the resident of Springwood Height, off South Buona Vista Road.

He said a recent accident along the road prompted him to print the A4-sized pamphlets, each of which he signed personally.

He has also raised the matter with the Springwood Residents' Club, which takes care of more than 100 houses in the neighbourhood.

Club secretary Peter Koh, 56, who said the club will revisit the matter at its next meeting, suggested setting up a surveillance camera to deter speeding drivers.

Readers of The Straits Times and The New Paper have also written in to express their concern over the winding stretch, especially about the heavy vehicles that still use the road despite the signs.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, the LTA said it will put up more signs to keep long vehicles from the road and work with the Traffic Police to step up enforcement.

Mr Chan's attempts to keep drivers safe has received a generally positive response.

'We are happy to learn of Mr Chan's deep concern for the safety and well-being of his neighbours.' said the Singapore Kindness Movement Secretariat general manager Teh Thien Yew.

[This is part of my retirement plan. When I'm retired, bored and have nothing better to do, I'm going to get a folding chair, a pair of binoculars and it outside a school and watch for cars speeding past or being driven dangerously.]

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