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Downtown Line can't swing sharply to meet LRT station

MOVE one of the Downtown Line's stations nearer the existing Bukit Panjang LRT and bus interchange?
Maria Almenoar

Sat, Jul 19, 2008
The Straits Times

MOVE one of the Downtown Line's stations nearer the existing Bukit Panjang LRT and bus interchange?

It cannot be done because of technical constraints, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has said.

It was responding to Members of Parliament who had asked for Petir, the last of the Downtown Line's 12 stations, to be relocated closer to the Bukit Panjang LRT line.

As it stands, Petir is about 120m away.

The MPs had argued that integrating the Downtown Line with Bukit Panjang's LRT system and bus interchange would make it more convenient for commuters needing to make connections to the main train system.

The LTA has explained that it comes down to how much a railway track can curve.

'The railway alignment is not able to swing sharply to meet Bukit Panjang LRT station and yet be able to run to Woodlands Road within such a short distance,' it said in an e-mail reply.

It added, however, that it would build a covered linkway between Petir station and Bukit Panjang LRT station, and hinted at 'future developments' on a reserve site between the two stations.

The concern over the placement of the Petir station appeared to be the only one following Monday's unveiling of the 12 stops on Stage 2 of the Downtown Line, expected to open in 2015.

Reactions from MPs and residents elsewhere were favourable, because the line runs through neighbourhoods that have, till now, not been served by the train system.

Dr Teo Ho Pin, who is the MP for Bukit Panjang, said of the siting of the Petir station: 'It's a little bit out of the way now. We would much prefer that it be three-in-one and provide a one-stop connection for residents.'

Mr Liang Eng Hwa, an MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC who oversees the nearby Zhenghua ward, had a similar concern.

He said: 'It seems like the LTA is trying to keep the line along the main road, (but)...we would much rather see the train line run into the heart of town than on the edge of it.'

On the whole, however, reaction to the route that the line will run was positive.

Mr Christopher de Souza, also an MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, said it would be a boon to residents who would cut their travel time by up to 30 per cent.

Shop owners at Tekka Mall cheered at the prospect of getting more customers from those who alight at the Rochor station, though some are concerned that their rents might rise as a result.

Down the line, schools like Hwa Chong Institution, Raffles Girls' Primary and National Junior College will be within walking distance of Duchess station.

Residents in the area hope this means more parents will let their children take the train to school.

Mr Roy Teo, 61, who lives in Watten Estate and is looking forward to congestion-free roads there, said: 'Parents park their cars along the road to wait for their little darlings to come out. It has been so bad that cars are bumper to bumper.'

Sixth Avenue residents said they are unlikely to give up their cars but some said taking public transport would be an option for short trips.

Housewife Cheong Pwee Yin, 62, who lives in Cashew Road, said: 'It is very inconvenient to travel out of my estate now, but it should be better with the new line.'

At the future Beauty World station which will sit opposite three shopping centres and Hillview station near Rail Mall, shop owners are also expecting a fillip to their businesses.


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