Ban on new eateries ‘unlikely to fix parking woes’

Some residents find the ban on new eateries in areas of Bedok and Upper Thomson (left) a relief, saying there are already enough food places.
Some residents find the ban on new eateries in areas of Bedok and Upper Thomson (left) a relief, saying there are already enough food places.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

The ban on new eateries in the Bedok and Upper Thomson areas is a welcome move, but it is unlikely to improve existing parking woes, say residents and customers.

Ms Gloria Tan, 28, a childcare teacher, who visits Simpang Bedok a few times a month as she likes the wide variety of cuisine available, said that while the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA's) ban will help, she hopes more parking spaces will be built there.

"The banning of new eateries is a partial solution to the problem because there are only that many carpark spaces in Simpang Bedok," she said.

Mr M. H. Ng, 46, a manufacturing manager who lives in Jalan Pari Burong, makes sure he gets home by around 5pm to secure a parking space. "I avoid getting home around dinner time because you will not be able to find any parking."

Business analyst Edris Dzulkifli, 28, who has been living in the Simpang Bedok area for about 20 years, said it is sometimes hard to find parking space outside his house. "It's a minor inconvenience that comes with the modernisation of the place. The area is now more trendy, hip and experimental, with a greater range of food offerings."

He had been hoping that developers or the authorities would construct a multi-storey carpark at the recently opened East Village. "That could have alleviated the overcrowded situation here. Instead, they built an open-air carpark, which is a waste."

Housewife Erica Chew, 28, who lives in Jalan Chempaka Kuning, simply opts to walk instead of drive when she wants to eat in her neighbourhood so as to avoid the hassle of finding parking space.

Other residents, such as Ms Patricia Tan, 49, who works in administration and also lives in Jalan Chempaka Kuning, were relieved by the move to ban new eateries, saying the area already has enough food places.

Ms Tan hopes the URA's move will at least ensure the noise levels and parking woes in the area do not worsen, especially at night.

Meanwhile, The Sunday Times understands that the Land Transport Authority has stepped up enforcement on illegal parking in some of the areas.

Thomson Village patron and resident Tan Yee San, 33, believes the authorities should give more thought to how the area is designed. He usually takes around 15 minutes to find a parking space and tries not to drive to the area if he can help it.

"The popular eateries are still here, so people will come. Building more carpark spaces would help," said the mechanic, who has been living in the area for four years.

But another patron, who gave his name only as Mr Low, said parking has not been much of an issue for him. The 42-year-old director of a non-profit organisation said he usually parks in Jalan Lembah Thomson, which is further up from the main stretch of eateries.

Melody Zaccheus, Carolyn Khew and Clarice Teo

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 12, 2016, with the headline 'Residents, patrons see no end to parking woes'. Print Edition | Subscribe