Lifts at a new pedestrian bridge at Clementi MRT station, which were once closed at night, will now be open round the clock, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said yesterday.
He was responding to Dr Tan Wu Meng (Jurong GRC), who cited the bridge - which replaced a ground-level, barrier-free crossing - to illustrate how new infrastructure must serve people better than their previous iterations.
Dr Tan, who had filed an adjournment motion which let him speak for up to 20 minutes, said Clementi residents with mobility needs had to find a different place to cross the road at night as the lifts shut down after MRT services cease.
It is important for public servants to not "lose sight that people are at the heart of all we do", Dr Tan said.
"When we add new innovations, we must be mindful about subtracting from what came before, especially when it affects the disadvantaged and vulnerable among us."
Mr Wong, in announcing that the lifts would be accessible all day, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) would learn from this and "make sure that solutions are available... in other towns as well".
LTA will be learning from this example and experience to make sure that solutions are available not just in Clementi but in other towns as well.
MINISTER FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LAWRENCE WONG, on how new infrastructure must serve people better.
Mr Wong added that government agencies have always sought to put people first when designing public facilities, and would continue to do so.
"One key priority for us (now) is to improve our pedestrian connectivity, to improve 'first-mile, last-mile' connections and to ensure that our environment is highly walkable," he said.
Dr Tan had also highlighted two public hospitals which could do with more sheltered walkways from their nearest MRT stations, to help make visits to loved ones who are ill less stressful.
To this, Mr Wong said the LTA will construct a covered walkway from Little India MRT station to KK Women's and Children's Hospital later this year.
There will be also be more bus services running between Khoo Teck Puat Hospital and nearby MRT stations.
Dr Tan also called for the Building Code to be revised to compel private developers to build barrier-free, overhead crossings from their retail buildings to nearby HDB precincts. He said there had been several "missed opportunities" to link malls to HDB developments, as in the case of Clementi Mall and 321 Clementi.
Mr Wong said agencies already work with developers to safeguard pedestrians' access through private developments, but added that his ministry was studying how to enhance the laws and will share the details in due course.
He also noted that making a city more walkable requires the Government to make hard decisions, such as shrinking road sizes or closing more roads.
"If we truly want to embrace a more pedestrian-friendly culture, it's really about adopting a 'car-lite culture' in Singapore," he said, highlighting car-free Sundays in the Civic District as an example of how to get people used to such a mindset.