Replace Newton Circus with traffic junction

A view of Newton Circus.
A view of Newton Circus.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

I am surprised that the decision to build a U-turn necessitated a parliamentary question and announcement (New U-turn to cut Newton Circus traffic, July 28).

I cannot see how one U-turn will alleviate the traffic conditions in Newton. If it does, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) needs to build more U-turns at Scotts Road, Dunearn Road and Bukit Timah Road (towards Woodlands after Newton Circus).

This new U-turn may even create more congestion as cars need to queue up in the right lane.

During peak hours, traffic towards the city becomes congested, creating a gridlock.

Old habits die hard. Motorists will still use Newton Circus for U-turns.

Traffic circuses or roundabouts are legacies left behind by the British. They were useful for horse-drawn carriages and cars that were started by hand cranks, and are antiquated now.

Studies in the United States show that motorists' experiences with traffic roundabouts are mostly negative.

Also, they are characterised by congestion and high accident rates. In fact, roundabouts are mocked in films like European Vacation and television series like The Simpsons.

For many motorists like myself, we have to make an instant decision on when to drive into the circus, what speed to maintain and when to exit the circus.

Some motorists even exit at the wrong road and have to enter the circus once again.

Circuses are inefficient. Motorists have to queue to enter the circus. Navigating the circus is slow because you are unsure when the car in front will exit.

Sometimes, you have to jam the brakes when the motorist in front suddenly decides to exit.

For many years, motorists have suggested a traffic junction to replace Newton Circus. But the LTA seems adamant to maintain the circus in Newton. It is time to bite the bullet.

The traffic problem at Newton Circus looks complicated but the solution is straightforward.

Tear down Newton Circus.

Align Bukit Timah Road, Scotts Road, Dunearn Road, Keng Lee Road and Kampong Java Road and build a traffic junction just like those at Bukit Timah Road, Farrer Road, Dunearn Road and Adam Road.

Michael Lum

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2019, with the headline 'Replace Newton Circus with traffic junction'. Print Edition | Subscribe