LTA to make area around Tiong Bahru Market more pedestrian-friendly

LTA said it will make permanent changes to improve the walking experience in the area. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - Pedestrians will have an easier time navigating the streets around Tiong Bahru Market, as initiatives such as closing off a stretch of road to vehicles under a six-month trial are made permanent.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Wednesday said it will make permanent changes to improve the walking experience in the area, with works expected to begin in October.

The changes include pedestrianising a 60m stretch of Eng Hoon Street and widening the footpath along Seng Poh Road.

Ramps will be built along Seng Poh Road to provide barrier-free access to shops and Tiong Bahru Market, said LTA on Facebook.

Senior Minister of State for Transport Amy Khor said other improvements that will be put in place following public feedback include new loading and unloading bays as well as moving the taxi stand closer to the market entrance in Lim Liak Street.

"We hope to commence work by early October, while being mindful to not disrupt the business of some stalls in the market and adjacent streets," she wrote in a Facebook post.

Dr Khor had announced the six-month trial to improve the pedestrian experience at Tiong Bahru in March. She also said then that the LTA will lead an inter-agency work group to study how to improve walking and cycling in Tanjong Pagar.

Last December, the authorities converted 13 roadside parking spaces in front of a row of shophouses in Havelock Road into an extended footpath after a trial.

Residents in Tiong Bahru said the repurposed roads have made the area more walkable.

"There can be a lot of traffic around Tiong Bahru sometimes and there are lots of small roads to cross," said dance instructor Linna Tan, 47. "It's nice not to have to worry about traffic, especially since I have a young child."

Resident Poh Boon Seng said before, Eng Hoon Street was often "very heavily used and congested due to parking and incoming traffic" before part of it was closed off to vehicles.

"The area here is now quieter and more well-controlled, and I don't see many traffic jams here anymore," said the 61-year-old retiree who used to work in the marketing industry. "Now I can bring my grand-nephew down everyday to play in this safe space."

The changes include pedestrianising a 60m stretch of Eng Hoon Street and widening the footpath along Seng Poh Road. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

However, some businesses said they have been affected by the loss of parking spaces as a result of these changes.

Mr Rodney Goh, the owner of provision shop Pin Pin Piau Kay in Seng Poh Road, said he has seen the number of customers dip by 10 per cent to 15 per cent since March.

"For non-residents, they usually drive here to buy groceries or eat here but now, it is more inconvenient and difficult to find parking lots here," said Mr Goh.

"If they cannot find a parking spot here, they will just go somewhere else."

Provision shop Pin Pin Piau Kay in Seng Poh Road. The number of customers dip by 10 per cent to 15 per cent since March. PHOTO: ST FILE

Ms Seow Wen Qian, operations manager at Sevens Kissaten by Any Dining, said she expected higher foot traffic after part of the Eng Hoon Street was closed off to make it more pedestrian-friendly.

However, she saw a 40 per cent drop in the number of customers when the trial started in late March.

While business has started to pick up in September, she suggested providing more parking spaces and building sheltered walkways to help increase foot traffic in the area.

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