Research Question: Are our MPs and their staff now more willing to listen to feedback?
The request: To extend the existing covered walkway across Bedok North Ave 4 to help elderly residents from nearby blocks do their marketing in bad weather.
The Situation: To request of them to look into something that will normally be rejected immediately because of “policy” issues such as it being too costly or it being not under the Town Council purview. The worse case scenario would be them ignoring my email. Years ago, similar requests to build sheltered walkways between transport nodes (bus stops) and neighbouring blocks in this area were ignored. Not surprisingly, those requests were magically and silently approved and the construction work for the said sheltered walkways were completed before General Elections 2011.
- The first email was sent on 11 May 2011 at 12:48 to now-retired Transport Minister with my request.
- The Branch Secretary acknowledged my email on 11 May 2011 at 13:57 and informed me that he will be forwarding my request to LTA and East Coast Town Council (ECTC).
- I was pleasantly surprised at the quick response. I now had high hopes that this request will be not be turned down immediately.
- The people at ECTC emailed and called me a few more times to get more details about my proposal, and yes, the drawing above was done by them. By 12 May 2011 at 16:10, just slightly more than a day after my initial request, my proposal was forwarded to LTA for a feasibility study.
- From what I’ve learnt from the conversations with them, as long as the shelter crosses a road, LTA will be the lead agency to analyse and implement the proposal. For shelters that do not cross over a road, ECTC is the decision making party.
- This forwarding was done pretty quickly. I’m pleased.
- Exactly 6 days after the forwarding to LTA, 18 May 2011 at 16:11, LTA gave me a call to inform me about the “policies” that they have to follow when granting permission to build such a shelter.
- They regurgitated the difficulties faced when building sheltered walkways across a total of 4 lanes – height limit/requirements + other considerations
- One more thing he mentioned was the unlimited liability concept. If he were to approve this project, he will have to do so for all the estates as well.
However, all hope is not lost. I mentioned that Bedok has a large proportion of aging citizens (which he should already know) to convince him that we need this project to be done. Before ending the call. he mentioned that he will be escalating this issue upwards to see if this project is feasible. The long chat with the LTA officer ended on a nice note.
Now, to wait for the outcome of this request. But I must say that I am pleased at how this request is being handled – professionally and efficiently. There was no pushing-the-baton nonsense. Something good came out of GE2011 huh. I have hope for the government and its civil service. This better last. 🙂
LTA’s reply =
LTA’s policy position is only to provide high covered linkway to connect transport nodes. We will keep your request in view, should there be scope for it in future. (LTA’s representative said that there are quite a lot of policy changes in the pipeline, so he advised me to hope for the best. 🙂 )