Cycling woes: No place to park bicycles at Sports Hub; cyclist gets warning letter

Mr Relucio holding up the warning letter that was taped to his bicycle on Wednesday night. The retail worker had chained his bicycle to a carpark railing at the Sports Hub because no bicycle rack was available.
Mr Relucio holding up the warning letter that was taped to his bicycle on Wednesday night. The retail worker had chained his bicycle to a carpark railing at the Sports Hub because no bicycle rack was available.ST PHOTO: DANSON CHEONG

When the $1.33 billion Sports Hub opened in June, it came with world-class facilities such as an aquatic centre, a sports arena and a 55,000-seat stadium.

But not a single bike rack.

Just ask cyclist John Paul Relucio, who has been cycling to the Sports Hub for work since the start of the month and was warned when he tried to park his bike there.

On Wednesday, the 28-year-old retail worker found a warning note taped to his bike, which was chained to a carpark railing at the Sports Hub.

"They said bike parking was not allowed there, my bike would be wheel-clamped if I did it again," he told The Straits Times, adding that he had done so because the Singapore Sports Hub does not have bike parking sites.

"This is the Sports Hub. If you want to promote a healthy lifestyle, why don't you have bike parking spaces?"

When The Straits Times visited the area yesterday, the closest bicycle park was at Stadium MRT station.

There were clearly insufficient bicycle racks, with two to three bikes locked to each rack.

Cyclists also say these bike parks are not secure enough and often the target of thieves.

Asked why there were no parking facilities for bicycles, Mr Robert Gambardella, chief of Sport Singapore's Singapore Sports Institute, said plans are in the works to integrate cycling infrastructure into the venue.

He said both Sport Singapore and Sportshub Pte Ltd, which manages the venue, have been studying where to install new bike parking facilities since the Sports Hub opened.

"We want to place the racks in a strategic position, where there's lots of light and (the racks are) within sight so it's safe and secure," he said.

Mr Oon Jin Teik, chief operating officer of Sportshub Pte Ltd, said the company will install at least eight to 12 clusters of bike racks around the 35ha venue - hopefully by the end of the year.

"(When the Sports Hub opened) we wanted to observe the flow of foot traffic, so we could put these racks where end-users prefer," he said.

Addressing complaints from cyclists, he said: "We apologise and hope the public will have some patience."

Still, many people expressed surprise that these facilities were not in place right from the start.

One of them is Tampines GRC MP Irene Ng, who has been a keen supporter of cycling and cyclists.

"One would have expected the Singapore Sports Hub to incorporate bike parking facilities well ahead in its master plan, the way it would have done for carparks," she said.

Ms Ng had pushed for her GRC to become Singapore's first cycling town in 2010.

In Tampines, there are plans for 500 bicycle parking spaces alone in the upcoming Tampines Town Hub.

Mr Woon Tai Woon, co-founder of cycling group LoveCyclingSG, agreed, saying that more thought should have been put into the matter from the start.

"We just want to say 'Don't forget us cyclists', we want to be considered," he said.

dansonc@sph.com.sg