Sunday, January 22, 2006

Staircase to heaven

What is wrong with civil architects, designers and engineers in Singapore today? They build spanking new public buildings, or refurbish old ones, like one in Chinatown, with mechanical escalators to boot. But there is one problem, there is only one escalator, and it is either up-riding or down-riding at any one time. Mediacorp reported on site that people didn't know how to get down to the ground floor after they took the escalator up. Apparently, the staircase wasn't that obvious or visible either. Obviously, this has annoyed many people who visit Chinatown. Who will have expected that a spanking (albeit refurbished) building will take a step back in terms of useability? Why are we paying taxes for?

This is not new. In one of its unique civil developments in Sengkang central - the Integrated MRT/LRT/Bus Terminal/Compass Point/Compass Heights development, built about 4 years ago, there is also only one escalator at the end of an overhead bridge which is connected to this integrated development. The escalator is almost always up-riding, and there is only one of them. While finding the staircase in this instance is not a problem, it is positioned AWAY from the bus stop. This means that people who need to reach the bus-stop from Compass Point must walk a much further distance. Sometimes, this can mean the difference between missing a bus, the consequence of which is at least a further 10-minutes wait for the next one.

What is surprising is that these developments were designed and built in the 21st century and in Singapore too, which is renown for its civil housing programme! We've built hundreds of thousand of houses (albeit skywards) over the last 30 years. There seems to be a regression in standards, ironically, in the new century. The designs are certainly not well thought through - a 'crime' if I can call it - after all those years of experience. What do they teach in civil design / engineering schools nowadays, I wonder?

1 comment :

Harsha said...

this is stupidity at it's best. i nevr understood why it is so built? I would love a non-running escalator to walk down.