Committee of Supply debate: Ministry of Transport

More pedestrian crossings for elderly, those with disabilities

Signalised pedestrian crossings make it easier for the elderly and those with disabilities to cross the road because they are less physically taxing compared to overhead bridges or underpasses, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Te
Signalised pedestrian crossings make it easier for the elderly and those with disabilities to cross the road because they are less physically taxing compared to overhead bridges or underpasses, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo. PHOTO: ALICIA CHAN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

More signalised pedestrian crossings will be built in future where possible, to make it easier for the elderly and those with disabilities to cross the road.

Such crossings are less physically taxing compared to overhead bridges or underpasses, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo yesterday in Parliament during the debate on her ministry's budget.

That was one of several measures she spelled out yesterday to improve the commuting experience for those two groups of public transport users.

Lifts will be installed at another 50 overhead bridges islandwide, Mrs Teo said. This is on top of those being installed at 41 bridges now.

Priority is given to areas frequented by the elderly or those with disabilities, such as near healthcare institutions and welfare homes, she said.

The Land Transport Authority is putting in more seats at new MRT stations for seniors to rest, she added.

More elderly-friendly seats will be installed at the platforms of 17 MRT stations when they are upgraded from later this year, said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

MP Sitoh Yih Pin (Potong Pasir) called for the authorities to be sensitive to the travel needs of the elderly.

Separately, Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera asked if there could be two lifts at all MRT stations in future. The ageing population would place more pressure on existing lifts, he said. In response, Mrs Teo said her ministry was looking into equipping all new stations with two sets of lifts.

Moving on to enhancing the walking experience for pedestrians, she said all MRT and LRT stations will be connected by sheltered walkways to nearby schools and healthcare facilities by 2018.

New stations are designed with such considerations in mind, she said, citing how Downtown Line 2 stations will have 13km of sheltered walkways, while Downtown Line 3 stations will have 16km of such walkways.

Responding to Mr Ang Wei Neng (Jurong GRC) who asked if a covered walkway would be built between Simei MRT station and Changi General Hospital, Mrs Teo said this would be completed by next year.

MP Lee Yi Shyan (East Coast GRC) asked if there were plans for more underground spaces and walkways to make the city more walkable , citing the examples of Montreal and Toronto in Canada.

Both cities have more than 30km of underground tunnels linking numerous commercial and residential properties, he said.

Closer to home, Tokyo and Taipei have underground walkway infrastructures that make those cities walkable, he added.

Mrs Teo said the Government is trying to connect the expanding transport network to more buildings via underground links.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2016, with the headline 'More pedestrian crossings for elderly, those with disabilities'. Print Edition | Subscribe