More road safety zones for the elderly

More road safety zones for the elderly
An LTA engineer pointing out to Mr K. Shanmugam the location of the Silver Zone in Yishun Ring Road.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

More road safety zones for elderly pedestrians will be introduced in residential areas by early 2017, with reduced speed limits and senior-friendly crossings.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said yesterday that it has identified 10 more locations for its Silver Zone programme, bringing the total to 15.

The new locations will be in estates including Clementi, Commonwealth, Hougang, Telok Blangah and Toa Payoh.

All are areas with high elderly populations, higher accident rates involving seniors and amenities for the elderly.

"We are going to increase the rate of doing Silver Zone (projects)," said Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim.

"We are having an ageing society. There will be more seniors using the road. They are a vulnerable group of road users."

Last year, 25 over-60s were killed on Singapore's roads, up from 17 in 2013.

In Silver Zones, speed limits are reduced to 40kmh and motorists are informed through road markings, signs and "rumble" strips, which alert drivers when their wheels go over them.

Two-stage crossings are also built, so pedestrians need to check the traffic from only one direction, and have a safety refuge in the middle of the road. There are "pinch points" at these crossings, with narrower roads to get cars to slow down.

To date, two Silver Zones have been completed, in Bukit Merah View and Jurong West Street 52.

Five more will be completed by the end of the year, in Bedok, Lengkok Bahru, Tampines, Woodlands and Yishun. The remaining eight will be progressively completed by the first quarter of 2017.

The move is welcomed by MP for Nee Soon GRC, Mr K. Shanmugam, who estimates that over a quarter of residents in his Chong Pang ward in Yishun are above the age of 50 .

"Safety is going to become very essential," the Law and Foreign Affairs Minister said yesterday during a visit to Yishun Ring Road, part of which will become a Silver Zone.

"Older people are more infirm, they are often on wheelchairs nowadays, (using) walking sticks. We need to help them and you need to have the physical infrastructure that facilitates that."

Retiree Anthony Sim, 75, said the new crossings will prevent old folk from being injured.

But he noted: "Drivers also need to keep a lookout at crossings. There was an isolated case where a driver was on her handphone and nearly hit me."

The LTA said it will have a total of 35 Silver Zones by 2020.

This article was first published on August 13, 2015.
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