Traffic Woes

Ah, my favourite past time. Analyzing what makes civil servants think up the shit they do in the name of the "greater good" when eventually it's going to produce death. Let me explain. First, take note of junction in question on road map.

1 minute walk from the MRT and situated right beside the Ang Mo Kio South Neighbourhood Police Centre, possibly why all the changes in landscape occurred anyway.

So, originally this particular junction was the only method used for all and sundry who needed to get to the train station from my cluster of the blocks. I.e. everyone living on left and right of the street that branches from the main road of Avenue 3. Jaywalking was the norm. As you can see, even by map distance the nearest two overhead bridges were not really the "convenient" way to get to the other side of the road.

A pictorial representation. Red arrows are vehicular movement. Blue arrows are commuter movement. Now this was the way it was, for aeons and aeons till the NPC got built. Suddenly, it became a pride thing. How could people blatantly flout the law at the doorsteps of the Men In Blue? Unthinkable. Those sinners.

Thus, an effort got underway to deter jaywalkers. No, they didn't post a policeman on the sidewalk to effectively scare away potential jaywalkers. Now, that would have been too much of an effort. Poor dude. Did we really expect him to be standing there for more than 10 mins at a go in sweat drenched uniforms when the comfort of airconditioning, water cooler, pantry, television and plush chair was waiting for him twenty metres to the right?

So, here's what they did.

By putting those long green spiky fences on the center divider, jaywalkers now effectively had their walking space reduced by 95%. It was not an anomaly to see close to 15 people bunched up at the end of the divider waiting their turn to clear traffic. Do you see what happened? From a moderate traffic risk, the ingenuity of whoever instituted the change have brought it to a high risk traffic risk. The lesser the area to manouevre the more unsafe it became.

Still not satisfied because the jaywalking never stopped. It just got more confined. It was still a smear on the First Class Transportation Network we possessed in our bleached nation. So, construction crew were brought in and this was what they came up with.

Ah, traffic lights. It should solve everything. No it doesn't. With the old system, vehicles had an all clear path to the next traffic light. I.e. from junction of Ave 3/8 to junction of Ave 3/10. This was a good 500-600 metres of unfettered roads and speeds of 100-120 kmh were the norm. 20 odd years of living in these conditions have honed the jaywalkers' skills to a fine precise one. Just by sight we would know when we could make it and when we couldnt. Which car was speeding and which was a tortoise. It was not the pro-law practise, but it worked.

With the brand new lights installed. Cars now had a minor glitch to their path. An inconsiderate happening considering the road does have potential to jam during peak hours. Not helped by SBS buses cutting through 3 lanes near the end towards the new AMK Hub.

From two decades of zero accidents, even with unscrupulous jaywalking. We are only just counting down the days to the first major hit and run. Another problem seemingly solved by the men in charge, but creating a whole new other problem. Now you have instances of beating the red light, crossing indiscriminately with the false confidence that a traffic light will save your ass and generally impatient dudes waiting for the light to change. Where responsiblity initially lay in the hands of those who jaywalked, it has shifted to the two sets of traffic lights. Principle is, the moment you lay the responsibility of protecting your life to something/one else, mayhem is just waiting around the corner.

Moral of the story: If it aint broke, don't fix it. You might get back more than you're bargaining for.

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