Housing Board installing CCTV cameras to spot illegal parking

First it was the Land Transport Authority. Now the Housing Board is installing closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras to deter illegal parking.

It plans to put them up near service roads and loading bays around HDB carparks in areas including Bedok, Toa Payoh and Sengkang.

Motorists parking illegally will face fines ranging from $25 to $200, depending on vehicle type.

An HDB spokesman told The Straits Times the cameras will be installed in 55 areas from the second quarter of this year.

They are expected to be ready by December and will target problem areas, typically near popular commercial places like coffee shops and shopping areas where constant enforcement action is required.

The spokesman added: "Service roads are meant to be kept clear at all times to allow access of emergency and essential vehicles such as the ambulance, fire engine and refuse truck to the housing blocks."

The Land Transport Authority announced last month that it would install CCTV cameras at 30 public roads islandwide by the end of next year to put the brakes on illegal parking.

The HDB's move comes after a successful trial project in Bukit Panjang. It set up a CCTV system at the service road near Block 163A Gangsa Road in 2009.

An HDB spokesman said the number of illegal parking offences at that block dropped by at least 70 per cent after the installation.

She said the CCTV expansion is part of the Housing Board's continuous efforts to harness technology to strengthen its enforcement methods and maintain a pleasant living environment.

The cameras will operate in tandem with HDB parking enforcement officers.

The spokesman added: "The installation of CCTV systems... would only be implemented as a deterrent where necessary."

She urged all motorists to observe parking rules and "preserve a safe environment for all".

Bukit Panjang resident and chemist Toh Boon Teck, 27, said the camera at Block 163A has been very effective.

Many drivers used to park their vehicles at the loading bay and obstruct traffic on the service road, he said.

"It was very difficult to move in and out. But after the camera went up, a lot of people got fined and now no one parks there illegally," he added.

Motorist Ben Tan, 45, felt the move to install CCTV was positive but urged the HDB to clarify what constitutes illegal parking.

The IT executive said: "If someone is doing a drop-off, what is the timing before it's considered illegal parking?

"The cameras must not be targeted at boosting revenue but at helping to reduce safety issues."

roysim@sph.com.sg

Additional reporting by Tan Chong Yaw