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Jurong Town residents call for pedestrian crossing at Yuan Ching Road after 12-year-old girl dies in accident

Jurong Town residents call for pedestrian crossing at Yuan Ching Road after 12-year-old girl dies in accident
Some residents had alerted authorities about speeding along Yuan Ching Road and the lack of a pedestrian crossing.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - From her balcony in Lake Vista estate in Jurong, Madam Nargis spied several near misses on Yuan Ching Road as students crossed the road to get to a bus stop.

She alerted the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in January 2023 via the OneService portal, and asked for a zebra crossing along the road, near the junction of Hu Ching Road.

Madam Nargis, who declined to have her full name published, wrote in her request: “Children crossing north need to look back for oncoming left turning vehicles, and also look diagonally right for oncoming right turning vehicles.

“Vice-versa children, crossing south need to look back and front to look out for oncoming vehicles. Hope LTA can look into this urgently please.”

On Jan 27, 2023, LTA replied to the 62-year-old, who lives at Block 138C Yuan Ching Road, on OneService.

They had observed that the students were crossing safely, and noted that there were existing traffic markings to slow down vehicles.

But one year later, Madam Nargis’ worst fears came true.

On Jan 30, 2024, a 12-year-old student from Yuvabharathi International School was killed while crossing the road at the same intersection where Madam Nargis thought a crossing was necessary.

A number of residents wrote to The Straits Times after the initial report on the accident. They said they had alerted authorities about speeding along Yuan Ching Road and the lack of a pedestrian crossing.

There are two traffic light junctions along the road, but they are about 450m apart. One sits outside Jurong Secondary school, where there are signs for traffic to slow down from 60kmh to 40kmh.

The other set of lights is at Yung Ho Road. Hu Ching Road is located between the two sets of lights.

Yuvabharathi International School, which was established in 2009, and Lake Vista are on either side of Hu Ching Road, with a zebra crossing connecting the two.

Mr Choong Jen Hon, who has been a resident of Lake Vista for about 18 months, was at home when the accident happened.

“I heard a loud thud sound. Then one ambulance came, followed by another,” said Mr Choong, who works in facilities management.

In an earlier statement, police said that a second person was injured in the accident. A van driver involved in the incident was arrested for careless driving.

Mr Choong, 66, said there should be a road hump along Yuan Ching Road, for safety reasons and to reduce the noise caused by speeding motorists. He said he wrote to LTA twice in the last year, but had his requests rejected both times.

In an e-mail reply on Feb 14, 2023, LTA told him their engineers noted that there are road signs for motorists to slow down along Yuan Ching Road.

“The adjacent junction and pedestrian crossing also assist in regulating the speed of vehicles. Hence, humps are deemed unnecessary,” LTA said.

They added that the engineers will continue to monitor the noise situation at Yuan Ching Road and make refinements where necessary.

“In the meantime, we would like to suggest the use of double glaze windows and dense night curtains to reduce the noise disturbance you are experiencing,” LTA said in the reply.

Residents cross the road to get to a bus stop where service 154 takes them to Eunos Interchange and service 154B to Ngee Ann Polytechnic at Clementi Road.

Ms Crystal Aw, who has lived at Lake Vista with her husband for about two years, said she wrote to Mr Shawn Huang, an MP of Jurong GRC, about traffic noise from Yuan Ching Road.

She said in her e-mail on Sept 22, 2023 that motorists tend to speed along that stretch of road. She added that residents also suggested authorities set up a speed camera.

Said Ms Aw: “Our neighbour and I have also requested the authority to put a ‘hump’ along the stretch of road near to our estate, to prevent these inconsiderate owners from generating loud noises late at night arising from their speeding.

“However, nothing has been done.”

Mr Huang told ST that the accident was an unfortunate incident and a tragic loss of life.

“The traffic police is currently investigating the accident.

“LTA is also reviewing the traffic and pedestrian safety aspects of the area. We look forward to the outcome of the investigation as well as the traffic and pedestrian review,” he added.

Students distracted

A 36-year-old housewife, who lives in the estate and has a daughter at Yuvabharathi International School, said parents with children at the school have been writing to the school administrators to push for something to be done.

The housewife, who declined to be named, said: “I am very sad (about the accident). It is very hard to accept, and I can’t come out of the shock.”

“There are schools nearby but the vehicles come so fast,” she said.

Yuvabharathi International School, which has around 1,400 students aged three to 17, previously told ST that staff members station themselves outside the school to ensure students observe traffic rules.

But children can get distracted, said housewife Raja Rasriana, who has lived at Lake Vista for two years.

“I saw a school boy pulling his luggage bag across Yuan Ching Road, and he stopped in the middle of the road to adjust a wheel before he continued to walk,” said the 38-year-old, who has two children aged 10 and six.

Mr Eddy Oh and his wife, who moved to Lake Vista about three years ago, said traffic along Yuan Ching appear to pick up speed on the dual carriageway.

“It is a very busy road and there are a lot of cars in the morning,” said the 72-year-old, who added that he crosses the road at the traffic light near Jurong Secondary School to get to the bus stop.

Madam Nargis said she has not been sleeping well since the accident.

When ST visited her home on Feb 6, she showed the view she has of the junction of Yuan Ching Road and Hu Ching Road from her balcony.

“I wish I could have done more to prevent this accident from happening. I saw people washing blood away.

“It’s still fresh in my mind, I cannot come out of it,” she said.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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