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  Today Online 14 Jul 07
Don't sacrifice tree for errant drivers
Where's the will to conserve beautiful Angsana tree?

Letter from maryanne maes
Letter from patricia chen metcalfe

Straits Times Forum 14 Jul 07
Educate drivers. Keep 80-year-old tree
Letter from Joanne Teo (Ms)

Straits Times Forum 14 Jul 07
Some trees ought to get the chop
Letter from Ang Kian Chuan

Straits Times Forum 14 Jul 07
Take foot off pedal, even if tree wasn't there
Letter from Sim Hong Gee

Straits Times 13 Jul 07
No way to get drivers to slow down: LTA
By T. Rajan

Today Online 13 Jul 07
Spare the tree, educate motorists
Letter from thomas lim pai tong

Straits Times 12 Jul 07
U-turn: End of the road for 80-year-old tree in Braddell
By T. Rajan

Today Online 12 Jul 07
Tree's end is near

Channel NewsAsia 11 Jul 07
Braddell Rd Angsana tree to be removed after 'near accidents'

SINGAPORE: The Angsana tree in the middle of Braddell Road will be removed after all. The tree had been preserved during road works in 2005, at a cost of S$200,000. A three-lane road had to be split to accommodate the tree.

But the Land Transport Authority (LTA) says the tree has to go, as a safety measure. Despite precautionary measures such as additional road markings and safety signs, many motorists still run the risk of collision as they ignore the 40km/h speed limit. Many have also been unable to keep to their lanes.

The LTA adds that it had received reports of 'near accident' situations along this stretch. So the LTA and the National Parks Board have decided it would be prudent to remove the tree.

To facilitate the removal, there will be lane closures along Braddell Road from 15 July until 7 August 2007. - CNA/yy

Today Online 12 Jul 07
Tree's end is near

It cost the Land Transport Authority (LTA) $200,000 to save this 80-year-old tree in the middle of Braddell Road from being felled two years ago, but the authorities have decided it has to be chopped down after all.

In spite of the road markings and signs put up to warn motorists about the speed limit and the tree, there have been "near accident" situations observed and reported by motorists, said the LTA and National Parks Board in a joint statement yesterday.

To prevent potential accidents, the tree will be removed, beginning this Sunday. Lin Yanqin

Straits Times 12 Jul 07
U-turn: End of the road for 80-year-old tree in Braddell
By T. Rajan

AN 80-YEAR-OLD Angsana tree standing in the middle of Braddell Road will be cut down this month, reversing a decision two years ago to save it.

Citing safety concerns, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the National Parks Board (NParks) said they have decided to cut the tree down after receiving feedback from motorists involved in 'near-accident situations' along the stretch of road.

So far, no accidents have been reported along the stretch of road opposite Braddell Hill. This is where the road splits into two skirting the tree and rejoins a few metres ahead.

The split lanes were created two years ago when construction of the Lornie-Braddell flyover began.

In a joint statement, the LTA and NParks said they had opted to keep the tree in 2005 because LTA studies had shown that a bifurcated road would be safe if motorists observed the 40kmh speed limit.

As an added precautionary measure, the LTA painted a double white line ahead of the fork in the road and extended the chevron markings in front of the tree.

However, the LTA found that motorists have not been observing the speed limit along the stretch.

'The LTA's ongoing monitoring has revealed that many motorists do not drive within the 40kmh speed limit and consequently run the risk of colliding with the tree,' the statement said.

An NParks spokesman said that because of its size, the tree would not be transplanted. The removal of the tree will begin on Sunday, and lane closures will be in place along Braddell Road from then to Aug 7.

The Lornie-Braddell flyover, costing nearly $35 million, is part of an extensive project to ease traffic flow along the corridor spanning Braddell Road, Farrer Road and Queensway. It is expected to be completed early next year.

Today Online 13 Jul 07
Spare the tree, educate motorists
Letter from thomas lim pai tong

I REFER to the report, "Tree's end is near" (July 12).

It was reported that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will remove the 80-year-old Angsana tree in the middle of Braddell Road beginning this Sunday.

I for one cannot accept the reason given by the authority that tree has to be removed to prevent potential accidents. I live in Lorong Chuan and travel along Braddell Road and pass by that tree very frequently.

The tree is such a significant object that one is surely able to notice it from afar. It is a landmark of Braddell Road and for the nearby areas too.

Unless there are other good reasons to remove the tree, it is a terrible excuse to say that it is being done to prevent potential accidents.

Accidents usually happen if road users do not follow the traffic rules. There have been no accidents reported along the stretch of road opposite Braddell Hill.

Although the authorities may argue that prevention is better then cure, please first cure the driving habits of motorists and help spare the life of a wonderful tree.

Straits Times 13 Jul 07
No way to get drivers to slow down: LTA
By T. Rajan

FLASHING messages, speed-limit signs and extra markings on the road were all added to warn motorists of a tree in the middle of Braddell Road. But none of them worked when it came to keeping speeds under 40kmh, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) yesterday.

It was explaining why the 80-year-old Angsana, spared the chop two years ago at a cost of $200,000, had to go now.

Motorists do not keep to the speed limit when approaching the two split lanes skirting the tree, the LTA said. They run the risk of ramming into it or other cars. This is despite the 'slow' marking on all three lanes and speed-limit signs 90m ahead of the split.

This was the crucial factor which led the LTA and National Parks Board (NParks) to make the decision to cut the tree down, the LTA said in an e-mailed reply to The Straits Times.

Transplanting the tree, an NParks spokesman said, is not an option. The towering tree is too big to be relocated, and even if it is, 'chances are it will not survive'.

Motorists and nature lovers greeted the news of the tree's imminent demise with mixed feelings.

Bishan resident and businessman Ravinder Singh, 37, who uses Braddell Road daily on his drive to and from work, said the tree obstructs the free flow of traffic and must be cut down.

Others, such as architect and conservationist Tay Kheng Soon, who took a drive to the spot before answering queries from The Straits Times, said he thought the tree did not pose a problem to drivers negotiating the stretch of road between Braddell Hill and Raffles Junior College.

The tree was spared the axe two years ago, when construction of the nearly $35 million Lornie-Braddell flyover, designed to ease traffic flow along the corridor spanning Braddell Road, Farrer Road and Queensway, began.

The LTA and NParks said they had considered several options then, such as cutting the tree down and re-designing the flyover. In the end, they decided to save the tree and impose a 40kmh speed limit.

This was in response to LTA studies, which had shown that a split road would be safe if motorists observed the 40kmh limit.

But when the LTA monitored traffic speeds there, it found that many motorists did not observe the limit. The LTA also said that some motorists had complained that they had been involved in 'near accident' situations near the tree.

'The difficult decision to cut the Angsana tree is now made as a result of numerous rounds of deliberation, following our observations of driver behaviour at the location,' said the LTA.

It added that it arrived at the conclusion that 'removing the tree is the best, if unfortunate, course of action to prevent any accidents'.

But conservationist organisations like the Singapore Environment Council believe speed cameras could have been used to help enforce speed limits along Braddell Road.

Its executive director Howard Shaw agreed that safety took precedence over keeping the tree. But he also said that better planning could have helped save money.

'The decision to build an island around the tree, at the cost of almost a quarter of a million, should have been more closely examined in the first place,' he pointed out.

The LTA and NParks will begin cutting down the Angsana tree, one of the oldest in Singapore, on Sunday, after which the road will be re-aligned.

A SORE THUMB

'With construction works and heavy traffic along Braddell Road, this tree sticks out like a sore thumb. Please do motorists like me a favour and cut it down.'
BISHAN RESIDENT AND BUSINESSMAN RAVINDER SINGH

LET IT REMAIN

'As I drove past it, I personally did not feel inconvenienced at all. (The drive) was very smooth and I am glad the old tree was saved. Let it remain.'
ARCHITECT AND CONSERVATIONIST TAY KHENG SOON, in an e-mail

Today Online 14 Jul 07
Don't sacrifice tree for errant drivers
Where's the will to conserve beautiful Angsana tree?

Letter from maryanne maes
Letter from patricia chen metcalfe

I REFER to the report, "Tree's end is near" (July 12). While I admire the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) initial fight to retain the 80-year-old tree along Braddell Road (picture), it now seems that it has given up because of the actions of errant drivers.

I travel along Braddell Road often, and I must say that LTA has done a good job in placing the necessary road markings and signs for road motorists to prepare themselves for what's ahead of them.

However, there are still very inconsiderate drivers are in Singapore. They do not heed these warning signs and markings, and I have observed some swerving dangerously at high speeds at the last minute to switch lanes when they finally spot the tree just a few meters ahead of them.

Must this old tree be sacrificed for such drivers who obviously have no sense of responsibility?

I am a Bishan resident who is against the planned destruction of the beautiful Angsana tree along Braddell Road.

My father drives along Braddell Road daily and has no complaints about the speed limit there. Why is the LTA unable to enforce, say, a 40km/h speed limit along such a short stretch of road around this tree, when speed limits along many roads are easily enforced with the installation of speed cameras?

To me, there seems to be little will or desire to conserve this tree. Would the same apply if it were a historic building instead? What message is the Land Transport Authority and NParks trying to send with this decision? Is conserving a tree desirable but yet only secondary to the desire to drive fast?

Sadly, we have lost many trees and natural habitats in the process of development. This old tree is not just aesthetically beautiful, but also offers shade and is a habitat for wildlife.

I hope the authorities will reconsider the decision to cut down this tree.

Straits Times Forum 14 Jul 07
Educate drivers. Keep 80-year-old tree
Letter from Joanne Teo (Ms)

I READ with dismay the report, 'U-turn: End of the road for 80-year-old tree in Braddell' (ST, July 12).

I would like to dissuade the Land Transport Authority and National Parks Board from taking down the tree. I hope there is still time to reverse the decision or at least open it up for further consideration.

I love that tree for being there. Located in the middle of the road, it makes Braddell Road different from all the others. And for the few seconds that one passes under the tree, one can actually feel the cool difference under its wide branches.

The decision to keep the tree two years ago was a right one, a good one. Perhaps the effort to keep it there had not been recognised enough. But that doesn't mean it was unappreciated.

Every time I get to drive down Braddell Road, I look forward to seeing this tree, sticking out in the middle of nowhere, allowed to live amid the advancing concrete jungle. It is the same pleasure I get driving down Mount Pleasant Road, along parts of Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5, and Upper Thomson Road after Yio Chu Kang Road. It is a feeling I cannot put in words or quantify.

Lately, we have read so much about global warming and the effects of a thinning polar ice cap.

Yet here we go again, chopping down another tree because motorists cannot learn to slow down.

You stop drink driving by educating people about the dangers, not by removing alcohol from the shelves. In the same way, drivers have to be educated - to observe road signs, signals and rules.

A tree cannot walk to another spot. Humans can learn, can adapt.

Surely, Singaporeans are humans. Surely, we can learn to observe speed limits and put the foot on the brake pedal.

Educate drivers. Keep the tree.

Straits Times Forum 14 Jul 07
Some trees ought to get the chop
Letter from Ang Kian Chuan

I AM glad that the Land Transport Authority and National Parks Board have decided to remove the tree standing in the middle of Braddell Road. I have always thought it ridiculous to spend $200,000 to have a major road split up just to avoid cutting down a tree.

Time and again, as a member of a neighbourhood committee, I had to deal with these two authorities. I have never been able to understand the unyielding stance taken against the cutting down of trees, even when there is a danger of them causing injury and death.

A request to chop down a tree at a road junction because it is blocking the view of drivers turning out into the main road was met with a 'No'.

A resident's request for her neighbour's tree to be cut because the old tree's branches are in danger of falling into her garden was met with the response that the tree could not be cut as it was old and worth keeping.

Another resident's appeal for a tree outside his house to be cut because its roots are damaging the drain fronting his house met with a similar 'No' answer.

I wish we could loosen up a bit and be more flexible in dealing with trees which really need to be removed for safety's sake. The need to prevent loss of life is more important than the need to save a tree.

Straits Times Forum 14 Jul 07
Take foot off pedal, even if tree wasn't there
Letter from Sim Hong Gee

I READ with disappointment the decision by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and National Parks Board (NParks) to cut down the Angsana tree standing in the middle of Braddell Road, near the Thomson Road/Braddell Road junction.

What is more appalling is the rationale for removing the tree - because motorists were not observing the speed limit of 40 kmh posted on that stretch of road and therefore ran the risk of colliding with the tree.

With all the well-posted road signs, it is clear to users of that stretch of road ( myself included) that one has to slow down significantly, given the extent of the road curvature even without the tree being in the middle of the road.

The removal of the tree will not result in a dramatic increase in the speed limit. Furthermore, work on that part of the flyover project will be completed by next year, so motorists just need to be patient for another year before enjoying faster traffic flow.

I strongly urge the LTA and NParks to reconsider removing the tree.

What the motorists who complained about the tree need to do is to take their foot off the gas pedal and think about what their actions may do to themselves rather than have the next tree that lies in their path cut down.

links What is a Heritage Tree? What is the current list of Heritage Trees? How can I nominate a tree for the Heritage Tree scheme? Details on the NParks website with an online form to nominate a heritage tree.

More about the Hopea Sangal tree that got chopped down on Siva's habitatnews

Related articles on Heritage Trees of Singapore
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