The HDB said that a $22m programme to make most HDB estate barrier free will be completed by end of the year. Kudos to that but is it really so? Providing the physical feature is one thing but did HDB or whoever came up with the design think through the whole process?
Let looks at this example. The following picture is a picture of a typical overhead bridge that was built in the late seventies and eighties. To go up the bridge, one has to climb up the flight of staircase which means most elderly will balk at the gigantic steps to be taken and wheelchair and handicapped will not be able to cross.
|Photo taken from thelongnwindingroad.wordpress.com|
So the new generation of bridges that came along features ramp. Great right? Unfortunately no. Take a look at the next picture. It feature a long ramp approximately 30 metres. And that is just one portion of it. There is another ramp next to it. Some bridges like the one across the PIE to Bedok Reservoir has 4 ramps on each side. Now which elderly person will want to walk almost 200 metres just to get to the top of the bridge? And wheelchair friendly? Yes but only if someone is pushing it. Otherwise, I don’t see how any wheelchair bound person will be able to push himself/herself up all those inclines!
Then we have these nice sheltered walkways connecting the various HDB blocks to amenities and public transport. But somebody forget to tell these cyclists that this is not a bicycle parking bay. Just look at the number of bicycles chained to the railing! How is any elderly persons or handicapped person who need to hold on to the railings going to walk through that tangle of bicycles! The HDB and town council should seriously clamp down on these illegal parking otherwise it defeats the purpose of having all these barrier free features.
Last but not least, the authorities also decided to level the curb to make it easier for those in wheel chairs to move around. But did anybody tell this freaking selfish motorist that it is not meant for his personal parking space! By parking his car on the pavement, made easy by the removal of the curb, he is forcing pedestrians to walk on the road!
Barrier free by end of the year? I doubt.