Easier access for Bedok's wheelchair users with upgrades

More ramps and signs installed after Bedok's upgrading works make it easier for wheelchair users like Madam Yeo, 77, seen here with her daughter Cheng See and grandson Kang Rui Jie, 21. The upgrades are part of the Housing Board's Remaking Our Heartl
More ramps and signs installed after Bedok's upgrading works make it easier for wheelchair users like Madam Yeo, 77, seen here with her daughter Cheng See and grandson Kang Rui Jie, 21. The upgrades are part of the Housing Board's Remaking Our Heartland scheme.PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Retired school bus attendant Yeo Guat Hua began going out less around a year ago as her osteoporosis was getting worse.

Steps in the nearby town centre made it difficult for the 77-year-old Bedok Reservoir View resident to move around in her wheelchair.

But this changed in March when Bedok Town Centre's pedestrian mall was revamped and equipped with wheelchair-friendly ramps.

The 320m stretch between Bedok North Street 1 and New Upper Changi Road also received more landscaping, new street benches and lighting, and signs that point out where the wheelchair ramps are.

Madam Yeo's daughter, financial planner Tan Cheng See, 48, said: "We come here for groceries and to have breakfast at the hawker centre. The ramps make it a lot easier."

Madam Yeo, whose youngest daughter also uses a wheelchair because of multiple sclerosis, said: "We will come here more often now."

The upgrading works, which cost about $3 million, are part of the Housing Board's Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) plans for East Coast. The ROH scheme, started in 2007 to spruce up public housing estates, has also been introduced in Woodlands, Toa Payoh, Pasir Ris, Dawson, Yishun, Hougang, Jurong Lake and Punggol.

Other new additions to Bedok include an integrated transport hub, a town plaza and an upcoming integrated complex. The latter, slated for completion next year, will house the Kampong Chai Chee Community Club and Bedok Public Library, among other facilities.

When The Straits Times visited Bedok Town Centre yesterday, cyclists, shoppers with trolleys and families with prams were seen using the new ramps along the walkway.

"I fell down the steps here once while carrying my groceries," recalled retired nasi padang stall assistant Aisiah Abdul Basir, 70. "It's better that they have these ramps. And the more chairs the better. It's good for old people like me - when our legs are tired, we can rest."

About 200 retailers flanking the pedestrian mall also stand to benefit from the revamp, the HDB said.

Bedok Town Centre Merchants Association chairman Khoo Hock Khim, 52, said: "It's more lively after the upgrading. It's something new and people like it when it's refreshing."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2016, with the headline 'Easier access for Bedok's wheelchair users with upgrades'. Print Edition | Subscribe