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N. Sivasothi,
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Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. Since 1998 with origins from OneList.

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Sun 15 Jul 2007

Braddell Road Angsana cut down this morning

Category : news

In 2005, "LTA and NParks had opted to save the Angsana tree [in Braddell Road] by bifurcating the slip road around the tree. This was done after LTA's studies showed the bifurcation design - or splitting of the road around the tree - would be a safe option if motorists were to drive within the stated 40km/h speed limit."

So $200,000 was spent and this noble decision was celebrated. More than just about the saving of a tree, it was a symbolic, many of us hoped, of a new effort being invested into exhausting options to save the precious little nature we had left in Singapore - in exploring alternatives, workable alternatives were being found.

Earlier this year, LTA and NParks announced they were cutting down the tree. Some of us shrugged our shoulders. Until we read the fourth paragraph of the press release,

"In the two years since the bifurcation design was implemented, LTA has continued to monitor traffic conditions around the Angsana Tree. Despite the additional measures, LTA's ongoing monitoring has revealed that many motorists do not drive within the 40km/h speed limit, and consequently, run the risk of colliding with the tree, resulting in injury or worse. It was also observed that, in not staying within the safe speed limits, many motorists are unable to keep to their lanes. We have also received feedback from motorists involved in 'near accident' situations along this stretch of Braddell Road."

What was this a reflection of?

We greeted the news with disbelief. It was disconcerting to realise that motorists' complaints and refusal to slow down had brought about a reversal of a such a highly lauded decision. This highlights the rather unfortunate manner in which choices have been made, and dramatised how the convictions of agencies can be adversely affected.

To all of us who care but have hesitated to contribute feedback, let this serve as a wake up call. At the very least.

Sunday morning (15 Jul 2007), Kenneth Pinto took some photos in memoriam and penned "Goodbye, Angsana" The rest of his photos are at his flickr album. Adrian Loo who was passing by as they began to cut down the healthy tree, said "poor thing". He saw a dejected looking Kenneth at the site.

See also the LTA press release and some of the public's response since the announcement.

Posted at 5:11PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news