I had great expectations when I visited the new Tampines Swimming Complex, which opened with much hype last month at the sixth floor of Our Tampines Hub.
But I was shocked and disappointed when I came out of the lift and saw the narrow corridors and cramped entrance.
The ticketing machines and turnstiles are also placed so closely that the area becomes congested.
Did the design parameters factor in the weekend crowd? Is the facility designed to allow for easy evacuation, should an emergency arise?
The lack of proper signage was also glaring. It was difficult to find my way through the maze of corridors and narrow pathways. I, and a few others, had trouble finding the changing rooms.
The signage problem continued in the changing room. I spent a few minutes queueing outside a stall, thinking it was a shower stall, only to realise when the user came out that it was a toilet stall.
There were only a handful of showers, even though there were about 500 people using the facilities - five pools and a jacuzzi.
The walkway was also completely wet. Someone might have slipped and injured themselves.
To add to the chaos, a competition was going on in the sheltered pools and they were closed to the public. But there was no signage or announcement.
The signage system in general is appalling. There were only a couple of maps for the entire facility and insufficient "exit" signs. The signs that were there are not prominent.
A good outdoor system should have readable signs in big font. It should direct people smoothly and logically to the various amenities. It should also take into account the sunlight; if necessary, the signs should have hoods to enhance visibility.
When designing public facilities, the maximum footfall should be kept in mind and expected.
I hope the authorities will do a critical evaluation of the facility again and do necessary adjustments.
Safety and the ability to do a quick evacuation is paramount.
Ramamurthy Mahesh Kumar