Best solutions may be difficult, but still worth considering

Senior transport correspondent Christopher Tan raised a very pertinent question in his commentary ("Cross Island Line debate misses elephant in room"; Tuesday).

Do our transport authorities search for the best solution, or do they settle for the easiest?

Mr Tan raised this point with regard to the alignment of the new Cross Island MRT Line, which could run through the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

It is also very pertinent with regard to the deaf ear the Land Transport Authority has turned to calls for bicycles to be licensed ("LTA: Bicycle licensing not practical"; last Friday).

With reference to the MRT line, in addition to the howls of protest from nature lovers, Mr Tan's argument that it does not make economic sense to run the upcoming MRT line through 4km of jungle is very relevant.

He noted that a huge urban development is planned for the Bukit Brown area. Aligning the track slightly farther south would enable the trains to serve future residents.

In Bukit Brown, disturbance would not be a problem. It is already a graveyard.

In adjacent areas, there might be issues with land acquisition, but the Government has not shied away from this when real estate is needed for national causes.

The realigned track can also have interchanges with existing lines which will intersect it at Bukit Timah, Thomson and other stations, thereby giving passengers islandwide connectivity.

The reluctance of the Transport Ministry to address the problem of bicycle licensing is another manifestation of inertia.

While cycling should be encouraged as a healthy and convenient means of transport, as Singapore becomes more crowded, some degree of regulation is necessary.

Accidents involving injury have happened, and will happen again.

Innocent parties must have recourse, and one way of identifying culprits is through licence plates on bicycles.

Bicycles were licensed when I was a schoolboy more than 50 years ago, before records were computerised. If it could be done then, there is no reason why it cannot be done now.

The reluctance to do this, to reconsider realigning the Cross Island MRT Line, and to review some of the problems plaguing the certificate of entitlement system, especially with regard to motorcycles, is disappointing.

There needs to be more meaningful progress.

Lee Chiu San

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2016, with the headline 'Best solutions may be difficult, but still worth considering'. Print Edition | Subscribe