SINGAPORE - The widening of a footpath between 715 and 745 Havelock Road will become permanent after the completion of a six-month trial, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Tuesday (Sept 7).
The trial, which began in March, saw 13 roadside parking spaces in front of a row of shophouses being converted into an extended footpath using temporary water-filled barricades.
Works for the permanent widening will start this month and are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022. A ramp for easier access by wheelchair users or those with bulky items will also be built along the footpath.
The LTA previously said the narrow walkway in front of the shophouses could not accommodate pedestrian traffic at times, especially during peak hours.
Senior Minister of State for Transport Amy Khor said the changes will be good for everyone who uses the footpaths there.
"For instance, owners of shophouses benefit from their customers having a better experience as they make their way to the shophouses. Residents, too, can enjoy a safer and better walking experience," she said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
She added that the LTA had been taking in feedback from stakeholders, who have mostly been supportive of the decision to widen the footpath permanently.
Mr Eric Lee, 44, who goes to a grocery store in the row of shophouses twice a week, said few people used the temporary footpath, as it was not clear if the space was meant for pedestrians.
“The barricades made it look like it was under construction and I didn’t know if it was safe to walk there. Most people used the existing walkway,” said Mr Lee, who is self-employed. “But once it’s built properly, it will be a good addition to the area.”
Some shop owners were concerned, as some driving customers had complained about the removal of the parking spaces.
Mr Vincent Liow, 40, who owns La Bar Restaurant, said: “It will affect my business, as some customers have told me it’s more inconvenient to find parking.”
Parking is available at a nearby multi-storey carpark.
Ms Mae Baliga, manager at the Havelock outlet of Pullman Bakery, said its suppliers find it harder to make deliveries now, as they have to stop their lorries at a designated unloading area.
“But the footpath will be good for the elderly and wheelchair users who come here from nearby residential areas, as they will have more space,” the 26-year-old added.
Similarly in July, the LTA announced that permanent changes will be made in Kampung Admiralty after a six-month trial that started in February.
A lane along Woodlands Ring Road between Woodlands Drive 71 and Woodlands Drive 63 that was converted into a path for pedestrians and cyclists for the trial will become permanent.
The LTA said this will ensure that nearby residents and students from nearby schools, such as the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore's Woodlands Gardens School, will have more space for walking and cycling.
It will also make Kampung Admiralty and Admiralty MRT station more easily accessible for pedestrians.
Buses and private vehicles will be allowed to travel only in a single direction due to the pedestrianised lane.
There will also be a new bus stop for services 901M and 912/912A in front of Kampung Admiralty along Woodlands Ring Road, as well as cycling paths and covered linkways for accessibility.
The ongoing works are expected to be finished around August 2022.
The two projects are among 60 road-repurposing projects being explored islandwide.
Dr Khor said during the Budget debate in March that the LTA would also look at improving walkability in the Civic District, including potentially closing off Anderson Bridge to traffic.