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Gracia Yap and Zaihan Mohamed Yusof
The Straits Times
Feb 10, 2024
From her balcony in the Lake Vista estate in Jurong, Madam Nargis spied several near misses at 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. It 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 the 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 1½ years, 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 at 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 its 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.
It 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-glazed 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 bus interchange and service 154B to Ngee Ann Polytechnic in 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 for Jurong GRC, about traffic noise from Yuan Ching Road.
She said that in her e-mail dated Sept 22, 2023, she had pointed out that motorists tend to speed along that stretch of road.
Ms Aw had requested the authorities build a road hump near the estate, to prevent speeding motorists from generating loud noises late at night. She said residents had also suggested the authorities set up a speed camera.
Mr Huang told ST the accident was an unfortunate incident and a tragic loss of life.
“The traffic police are 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.
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.”
She added: “There are schools nearby but the vehicles come so fast.”
Yuvabharathi International School, which has around 1,400 students aged three to 17, previously told ST that staff 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 schoolboy 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.