Your grandpa's road? Not in Tiong Bahru

SINGAPORE - The traffic snarl-ups that have plagued the narrow streets of the Tiong Bahru conservation estate for the past five years could soon become a thing of the past.

A campaign - "Is this your grandfather's road?" - was launched yesterday as part of a kindness movement by Seng Poh Residents' Committee. It will encourage motorists to park at the 700 parking spaces for the public across the estate, instead of parking illegally.

Complaints from residents about inconsiderate drivers and congestion have been on the rise since cafes and eateries started setting up in the neighbourhood.

Common "black spots" include the area around Tiong Bahru Market and Seng Poh Road.

"It now takes me six minutes to drive out of the estate via Tiong Poh Road on a weekend, instead of the usual two minutes," said resident Choa Haw King, 37, an entrepreneur.

A group of 20 residents and volunteers took to the streets yesterday morning with Ms Indranee Rajah, an MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC - which includes the Tiong Bahru area - to distribute pamphlets detailing the locations of proper parking spaces. They also left pamphlets on the windscreens of cars parked illegally.

"Now that I know that there are spaces for us, I will make the effort to park there," said lorry driver Raymond Oh, 43, who frequents the Qi Tian Gong temple. He had parked illegally in Eng Hoon Street.

The initiative is part of a slew of measures rolled out by a seven-member taskforce set up by Ms Indranee in February to address "disamenities" caused by the rise in commercial activities in the residential estate. The taskforce is made up of residents.

Over the past few months, the team has worked on adding 50 public parking spaces in Eng Hoon Street and Eng Watt Street, and has improved walkways, lighting and landscaping on the streets of the 77-year-old estate.

It also helped to address hygiene concerns such as rat infestations and littering.

The taskforce has been monitoring the number and types of food-and-beverage outlets setting up shop in the area, and helps to curb illegal subletting of, and alterations and additions to, conservation buildings.

Efforts will be made this year to foster a stronger sense of identity among the estate's stakeholders. There are plans, for instance, to include facilities such as a chill-out area for young people.

"There are residents who have lived here a long time and there are those who are new to the area," Ms Indranee said. "Both groups have a sense of pride and affinity to the neighbourhood. We want to build on that."

myp@sph.com.sg

This article by The Straits Times was published in MyPaper,  a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.


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