Saturday, July 31, 2010

More HDB carparks on the way

Plans to add more than 5,000 parking spaces to ease residents' woes

MORE than 5,000 new parking spaces, costing $66 million, will be added in public housing estates in the next three years by the Housing Board (HDB).

The announcement was made yesterday by the HDB, following queries from The Straits Times.

The HDB estimates that about 10 per cent of its carparks do not have enough spaces for residents nearby.

What's causing the carpark crunch?

The HDB cited the increase in car ownership, including households with more than one car, in recent years as the chief reason.

Members of Parliament (MPs) whom The Straits Times spoke to also attributed it to the rising number of HDB households owning more than one car.

According to HDB figures, the number of such households has surged from 22,700 in 2006 to 36,370 now - a jump of 60 per cent.

HDB households owning more than one car make up about 12 per cent of the pool of car-owning households, up from 9 per cent in 2006.

MPs and residents have been complaining about the tight squeeze in HDB carparks for more than a year, as the car population has surged faster than the supply of parking spaces.

There are currently 1,810 HDB carparks, with a total of 551,430 parking spaces.

Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, MP for Aljunied GRC, noted wryly: 'Last year was the economic downturn, but the car population grew instead.'

The increase is in tandem with a rise in the overall car population in Singapore.

According to Land Transport Authority (LTA) figures for June, there are now 577,163 cars on the roads, about 100,000 more than in 2006.

This figure does not include rental cars, taxis and goods vehicles.

The HDB said the extra parking spaces will be created by increasing the capacity of existing carparks as well as by building new multi-storey carparks to replace existing surface ones.

The MP for Paya Lebar ward in Aljunied GRC, Madam Cynthia Phua, said: 'It's a relief that HDB is looking into this matter. But HDB needs to look at the long term as 5,000 new lots may be taken up very quickly.'

The new multi-storey carparks being built must be structures that can have even more storeys added in future, she said.

Madam Phua has on average 20 to 30 people a month complaining to her about the lack of parking spaces.

Over in Hougang Avenue 4, MP Mr Yeo plans to have 80 spaces added to an existing carpark. Parking spaces are hard to come by there because the carpark is near a busy neighbourhood centre.

Tampines resident Murugian Vadiveloo, 61, is looking forward to the new parking spaces. The HDB is building a multi-storey carpark one block away from his home in Block 939. The carpark will have space for 260 vehicles.

The Singapore Airlines cabin crew operations supervisor now spends half an hour circling around the carpark in his

area before finding a parking space if he returns home after 9pm.

Often, he has to park at another carpark 300m away.

Mr Vadiveloo, who has been living in Tampines for 25 years, said: 'The shortage worsened in the past year. Many people were parking illegally along the road.'

Mr Chew Kay Ping, who lives in Hougang Avenue 1, is cheered by the news too as he now has to while away time at a coffee shop - with his car parked illegally along the road - as he waits for an empty parking space.

Said the 58-year-old part-time contractor: 'I really look forward to HDB's addition of new lots. Then I don't have to waste so much time any more - and risk getting traffic summons.'

Source: Straits Times, 31 Jul 2010

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