SINGAPORE — The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will be taking steps to alleviate traffic congestion at the newly opened The Woodleigh Mall after residents at The Woodleigh Residences in the same mixed-use development voiced their frustration over long waits to enter the carpark during peak periods.
Residents said that on Friday (May 26) evenings and weekends, it can take up to 30 minutes to get to their carpark, which shares the same single-lane main entrance as the mall carpark.
The long queue of cars in Bidadari Park Drive, which is a two-lane road on the side of the mall, forks towards the complex and residential carparks.
The frustrating wait has led some residents, who collected the keys to their new apartments three weeks ago, to cut the queue from the adjacent lane to get home quicker — much to the consternation of other drivers.
A resident in her 40s, Ms Felicia Tan, said she had to wait in line for 15 to 20 minutes to get into the carpark last weekend.
"It's really a headache as there is only one lane shared by mall goers and residents, and the queue can stretch all the way to Upper Serangoon Road. If you cut the queue, you get death stares from the other drivers," she said.
A queue of about 15 to 20 cars had formed at around 7pm on Friday, when The Sunday Times visited the mall. A sign informed visitors that the carpark was full and vehicles were allowed to enter only when others left the premises.
The entrance to the mall and condominium carparks is at a minor road, Bidadari Park Drive. As it is close to a traffic junction, the queue often backs up onto the main arterial road, Upper Aljunied Road.
The congestion gets worse when drivers try to cut into the leftmost lane to get into the carpark, effectively blocking the through-lane for others heading farther along Bidadari Park Drive.
The development is bounded by Upper Aljunied Road, a heritage trail and Woodleigh MRT station. This means that access to the residents' and public carparks could only be situated on the side of the development adjacent to Bidadari Park Drive, LTA said.
It added that it is working with the mall operator and developer to implement additional measures. These include having a yellow box within the development between the access to the mall and residence, as well as providing more on-ground signage to guide motorists to alternative parking locations nearby.
"As the mall is directly connected to Woodleigh station on the North East Line, we encourage members of the public to take public transport to the mall," it added.
Potong Pasir MP Sitoh Yih Pin told ST that his team had raised similar concerns about potential traffic issues in the area before the opening of the mall.
"However, I am confident that these teething traffic issues, which can be expected with the opening of a popular mall in a neighbourhood, will be resolved in the near future," he said.
The mall management said that an earlier traffic impact assessment conducted while the mall was under development concluded that a shared entrance would be more convenient to residents.
Residents, however, are worried that the congestion will worsen.
A resident who wanted to be known only as Mr Wong said: "The mall could get more crowded when it is fully opened and when more families move into the new built-to-order (BTO) flats nearby."
More than 70 per cent of BTO flats in the Bidadari estate have been completed and the remainder are on track to be ready by 2025, the Housing Board said on May 21.
The Woodleigh Mall is the only shopping mall in the Bidadari estate.
Separately, the mall is also grappling with some issues. Mall goers told ST they struggled making digital payments and contacting family and friends due to poor mobile phone reception in the mall.
Data analyst Cherine Chiang, 51, said she could not make any calls or send messages in the mall using mobile data, or make digital payments at Popular bookshop in Basement 1, and had to use cash instead.
The mall management said in response that public Wi-Fi in the mall has been working well for shoppers and that it is working with various telcos to improve network coverage.