Keep Rail Corridor natural, say residents

Queenstown and Buona Vista residents exploring the Rail Corridor yesterday. Their ideas for its development include fitness areas under the Queensway viaduct and a grassy trail in place of the muddy tracks.
Queenstown and Buona Vista residents exploring the Rail Corridor yesterday. Their ideas for its development include fitness areas under the Queensway viaduct and a grassy trail in place of the muddy tracks.ST PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Adding lights and toilets to the green space were among suggestions at URA workshop

Keep it green and natural, but let more people enjoy it. That was the consensus on how to develop the Rail Corridor - at least among 39 Queenstown and Buona Vista residents yesterday.

The trail's appeal is its rustic greenery, but lighting would let it be enjoyed at night, said semiconductor firm managing director Mr Kelvin Goh, 35.

"I think it's a waste that you can't visit once it becomes dark," he said.

He was taking part in one of several workshops held by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on proposed plans for the 24km stretch of former railway land.

After visiting a nearby section of the Rail Corridor, participants - from retirees to parents of young children - sat down for a discussion. Rather than nature or fitness enthusiasts, the target was ordinary nearby residents, said the URA.

"Ultimately, it is your space, your backyard, your community area," said Senior Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee, who took part yesterday too.

One resident visiting the trail for the first time was housewife Nancy Khan, 50, who said: "It's quite interesting and is a new place where I can go for a walk.

"But it's a bit scary at the tunnel area," she said, referring to an area under the Queensway viaduct. "Maybe we can put some lighting there."

Views differed, but there were some points of agreement. Rather than asphalt or the current muddy terrain, most wanted a grassy trail or compacted gravel.

Toilets were the most popular proposed addition. For the space under the viaduct, fitness areas got the thumbs-up, but residents drew the line at "garish" decorative lighting.

Yesterday's session was the third of six being held in areas near the Rail Corridor.

Exhibitions on the proposals are being held at Ulu Pandan and Bukit Timah Community Clubs (CCs) until March 29, and at Yew Tee and Fuchun CCs from March 30 to April 5.

The public can also view the plans and give feedback at http:// ura.sg/railrfp. From next month to June, the URA will study the feedback and work with the design team to refine the plans.

From July to September, the design team will carry out a preliminary design and feasibility study for a 4km stretch. A public exhibition of the refined plans will be held in the first quarter of next year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 13, 2016, with the headline 'Keep Rail Corridor natural, say residents'. Print Edition | Subscribe