Bedok Town Centre revamp a hit with residents

RETIRED school bus attendant Yeo Guat Hua began going out less around a year ago as her osteoporosis was getting worse.

Steps in the nearby town centre made it difficult for the 77-year-old Bedok Reservoir View resident to move around in her wheelchair.

But this changed in March when Bedok Town Centre's pedestrian mall was revamped and equipped with wheelchair-friendly ramps.

The 320m stretch between Bedok North Street 1 and New Upper Changi Road also received more landscaping, new street benches and lighting as well as signs that point out where the wheelchair ramps are.

Madam Yeo's daughter, financial planner Tan Cheng See, 48, said: "We come here for groceries and to eat breakfast at the hawker centre. The ramps make it a lot easier."

Madam Yeo, whose younger daughter also uses a wheelchair because of multiple sclerosis, said: "We will come here more often now."

The upgrading works, which cost about $3 million, are part of the Housing Board's Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) plans for the East Coast.

The scheme, started in 2007 to spruce up public housing estates, has also been introduced in Woodlands, Toa Pa-yoh, Pasir Ris, Dawson, Hougang, Yishun, Jurong Lake and Punggol.

Other new additions to Bedok include an integrated transport hub, a town plaza and an upcoming integrated complex. The latter, slated for completion next year, will house the Kampong Chai Chee Community Club and Bedok Public Library, among other facilities.

During a visit to Bedok Town Centre yesterday, cyclists, shoppers with trolleys and families with prams were seen using the new ramps along the walkway.

"I fell down the steps here once while carrying my groceries," recalled retired nasi padang stall assistant Aisiah Abdul Basir, 70. "It's better that they have these ramps.

"The more chairs the better. It's good for old people like me - when our legs are tired, we can rest."

About 200 retailers flanking the pedestrian mall also stand to benefit from the revamp, the HDB said.

Chairman of the Bedok Town Centre Merchants' Association Khoo Hock Khim, 52, said: "It's more lively after the upgrading. It's something new and people like it when it's refreshing."

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