More HDB flats on the way, but can road network cope?
Sep 12, 2012
By Daryl Chin
The Housing Board is expected to complete building five Build-to-Order (BTO) housing projects in Yishun by 2014, but the road network to support the additional residents will be ready only a year later.
This time gap worries Ms Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC), who foresees it causing massive jams along Lentor Avenue.
She was not the only MP expressing concern yesterday over the potential problems arising from the ramp-up in the building of BTO flats.
Mr Liang Eng Hwa (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) wondered whether public transport infrastructure and facilities such as hawker centres will be ready to cope with the population explosion in Bukit Panjang, where eight housing projects are in the pipeline.
"Is it reasonable to build eight BTOs at about the same time, all at one go in a mature estate?"
Replying, Senior Minister of State for National Development Lee Yi Shyan said town planners would typically take into account the number of people and vehicles when drawing up plans, and that the HDB keeps a close eye on what is happening on the ground.
He added that an inter-agency meeting can be called to resolve local bottlenecks, should they arise.
Ms Lee asked how often such meetings were held, and added: "Certainly, I don't agree that there is good coordination."
Mr Lee said lessons have been learnt from the recent rise in public housing supply: 25,000 new flats are being offered this year, with another 20,000 next year.
"Some of the major infrastructure such as vehicular network and rail access will take much longer (to be completed) than the construction of HDB flat precincts. So I think coordination for short-term construction projects and longer-term planning are ongoing and we would intensify them as and when necessary."
He also said talks are ongoing with various ministries to minimise inconveniences to Yishun residents.
But some Bukit Panjang residents told The Straits Times that more could be be done.
Mr Tommy Lin, assistant director of NTUC's unit for casual and contract workers, called for a pre-emptive approach.
"Already, we are receiving many complaints from residents here. The situation will be much worse once the BTOs are built," said the 37-year-old. He is chairman of the Zhenghua Transport Task Force, a volunteer group that handles problems arising from public and private transport.
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