Singapore

More Silver Zones to make roads safer for elderly

Sections of roads may become community spaces under LTA initiative

The authorities are exploring new ways to make roads in neighbourhoods safer for the elderly.

These measures include converting sections of roads into community spaces and converting two-way roads into one-way ones.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) called a tender earlier this month to set up 10 more Silver Zones around Singapore by the end of next year.

The Silver Zone scheme was started in 2014 and has been implemented in 15 locations. It focuses on enhancing road safety for the elderly through various safety measures, such as implementing a reduced 40kmh speed limit, having two-stage crossings so that pedestrians can take "refuge" at the centre divider, and narrowing roads at crossings to get cars to slow down.

The 10 locations which the LTA has identified in the recent tender include Whampoa Drive, Upper Boon Keng Road, Chai Chee Road and Teck Whye Lane.

As part of the project, the LTA told The Straits Times that it "will also be exploring new road safety engineering features, which include community spaces where a section of the road is converted into an area with more walking and seating space for pedestrians".

Late last year, the LTA converted a 200m stretch of Commonwealth Drive from a two-way road into a one-way one. This is the first time the LTA has done so under the Silver Zone initiative.

With the conversion, the lane in the direction of Queensway has been cordoned off, while the lane heading towards Commonwealth Avenue is kept open.

The Straits Times understands that the unused road will be converted into additional space for pedestrians in time.

"This arrangement helps to calm and regulate turning traffic and, at the same time, reduce traffic conflict points between vehicles and pedestrians," said the LTA.

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Residents such as housewife Doris Yap, 42, gave the new one-way road a thumbs-up.

"It's more convenient to cross the road now as we do not have to look out for oncoming traffic in both directions," she said.

Madam Badiah Karmin, a 65-year-old retiree living in the area, said: "The roads here are not very busy, but (the change) does add to the safety as there are many elderly residents living in the area."

Ms Ye Fang, 46, who works in the service industry, added: "Sometimes, the cars do not come to a stop at the zebra crossings, so having only one direction of traffic is good."

But she noted that it is harder to get a taxi in Commonwealth Drive now. This is because taxis coming into the estate from Commonwealth Avenue would bypass the converted stretch of Commonwealth Drive and instead go by Commonwealth Crescent to get to Queensway.

There are currently no plans to convert more two-way roads into one-way ones under the Silver Zone scheme.

The LTA said: "Every Silver Zone is unique as the safety features are customised to the streetscape of each estate. These features remind motorists to slow down and look out for pedestrians as well as urge senior pedestrians to exercise greater care when crossing the road."

The goal is to provide 50 areas with Silver Zones around the island by 2023.

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