Veteran architect Tay Kheng Soon has criticised the poor design of a pedestrian walkway, which could have been improved “at very little cost”, in a social media post published on Sunday (13 Oct).
Mr Tay, the architect behind iconic structures in Singapore like KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Golden Mile Complex and the People’s Park Complex, commented on the design of pedestrian walkways after he shared his views on how the Government could ensure the safety of pedestrians without banning Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) altogether.
Public concern for pedestrian safety has been high following several accidents and deaths that have been caused by PMD riders colliding into pedestrians at walkways, void decks and other public areas. Parliament has been debating the introduction of restrictions to PMD users and last month, several town councils amended their by-laws to ban PMD riding at the void decks and common corridors of housing estates.
Only personal mobility aids and PMDS that are approved under the Active Mobility Act are exempt from the ban. Those who flout the rules may be fined up to S$5000 and/or taken to court. Despite the new regulations, accidents involving PMD riders and pedestrians continue to cause concern.
Last Monday (7 Oct), Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary indicated that the Government would consider banning PMDs completely should the behaviour of riders remain unchanged.
Three days later, on Thursday (10 Oct), Mr Tay proposed “easy” design alterations the Government could implement to help pedestrians and PMD riders co-exist more peacefully without banning PMDs altogether. He suggested:
“No need to ban PMDs. Use a version of blind men grooved flooring for the walking section because wheels dont like grooves, the wheels will swerve uncomfortably, so riders will automatically avoid the grooved sections so will leave pedestrians undisturbed. Then widen the existing walkways by say 3/4 meter. Easy!”
This week, Mr Tay – who presently serves as Adjunct Professor at the National University of Singapore’s Department of Architecture – provided examples of how the existing walkways are designed and how they can be improved. In one example Mr Tay provided, he said that the pillars supporting the shelter covering the walkway can be easily altered at little cost to widen the footpath:
He subsequently pointed out a better design that would give pedestrians and PMD riders more space, where the pillars are thinner, without a bulky base and pushed to the very outskirts of the footpath: