I refer to the article “Smooth conditions on MCE during peak hours, no design flaws: LTA” (Straits Times, Jan 16).
MCE traffic is smooth?
Land Transport Authority (LTA) said in its press release that the traffic conditions on the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) and its adjoining road network have been generally smooth during peak hours since its opening apart from the morning of Dec 30.
No “design flaw”?
LTA deputy chief executive Chua Chong Kheng said that LTA took several measures to address the congestion, including converting a short stretch of Central Boulevard from two to four lanes to add capacity and adding more than 100 temporary signs. These measures, together with increasing familiarity with the MCE, contributed to improved traffic conditions.
But isn’t it in a sense, an admission of a “design flaw”? If there is no “design flaw” – why the need to make so many changes, almost immediately after the opening of the MCE?
And in regards to the retort against criticisms about the MCE’s design, Mr Chua said comprehensive planning and traffic studies were conducted before it was designed and constructed. So why then was there a need for Mr Chua to acknowledge that LTA could have done more in terms of signages, which could have minimised the congestion on Dec 30?
Example of “design flaw”?
Let me just cite one example, arguably, of a “design flaw”.
Before the MCE, one would normally take about a minute, during the peak hour of 8 to 9 am, to drive from Pickering Street (after exiting the Central Expressway (CTE)) to 1 Raffles Quay. And about just another minute to leave to get back to the CTE, via Marina Blvd, Raffles Quay and Cross Street.
Post MCE – it now takes about 5 minutes to get to 1 Raffles Quay, and then about another 5 minutes to get away from the area.
So, it’s like 5 times longer than before the MCE.
The reason being it used to be just a short right turn from Marina Blvd to 1 Raffles Quay.
Now, one has to make a big loop via Marina View, Central Blvd and Marina View Link; and then another big loop to get away via Marina Blvd, Marina View Link and Central Blvd to Cross Street.
There are now also 3 pedestrian crossings along the above described route, which did not exist before the MCE.
There are now several traffic wardens to direct traffic. Will this be a permanent measure? If not, traffic speed may be even slower.
So, if the above example is not an indication of a “design flaw” – what is?
Media should verify “no design flaw”?
In this connection, may I suggest that the media who report on the “no design flaw” MCE – take the above route and interview some commuters who go to 1 Raffles Quay and the surrounding area.
Wouldn’t this be a good way to verify the conclusion that there is no “design flaw”?
Isn’t it more sensible for public agencies to get independent parties to access widespread public criticism, rather than to judge themselves? In this connection, remember the “AIM” enquiry?
Why not invite feedback from the public, instead of making “self-made” conclusions?
By Leong Sze Hian