More bicycle parking to be rolled out at MRT stations

New double-tiered bicycle racks at Blk 229 Jurong East Street 21.
New double-tiered bicycle racks at Blk 229 Jurong East Street 21. ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

TEL stations to get triple the amount of such space at older lines in push for car-lite S'pore

For Singapore to become a car-lite country, where citizens prefer the bike or public transport, MRT stations on the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) will be built with about three times more space for bicycle parking than at older stations.

But older stations will also get more bicycle parking, starting with those with the "most acute shortage", Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo told Parliament yesterday.

New TEL stations will have at least 100 to 300 bicycle parking spaces, up from 40 to 100 now at older lines, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) yesterday. The line will open in stages from 2019.

Parking availability would bolster efforts to make cycling a more attractive choice for the first and last mile of trips. Cycling makes up only 1 per cent to 2 per cent of all journeys now.

Currently, there are more than 800 bicycle parking spaces across eight MRT stations in the city area.

Last week, the Government announced developers will soon have to submit a Walking and Cycling Plan (WCP) for new developments, requiring them to incorporate facilities like lockers, showers and bicycle parking in their building designs.

Yesterday, Mrs Teo also said the LTA would be seeking powers to mandate bicycle parking standards for private residential, commercial and community developments, including those in the city. These would come under the WCP, which developers must submit from July.

Currently, guidelines by the LTA - requiring that private developers build one bicycle parking space for every six residential units, for instance - are not compulsory.

The provision of cycling facilities kicked off the debate in Parliament yesterday, with Mr Darryl David and Mr Ang Hin Kee, both MPs for Ang Mo Kio GRC, raising the issue.

Mr Ang asked if parking or charging stations for bicycles and personal mobility devices (PMDs) would be provided at MRT stations and community centres. PMD users now carry their devices around with them as there is no proper storage place.

Mrs Teo said there are no plans for PMD facilities, but the ministry will keep monitoring transport trends.

Mr David also asked if the Government would take the lead and consider building bicycle terminals in the city, with facilities such as showers and lockers.

Mrs Teo pointed out that even if these terminals were provided, users would still have to go from there to their final destinations.

"When we provide bicycle facilities, we must bear in mind the objective. That is, to provide first- and last-mile connectivity, and that is why the intention really is to involve building owners," she said.

Cyclists welcomed the plans to increase parking for them, and asked that it be also made secure. Mr Francis Chu, co-founder of cycling group Love Cycling SG, said most cyclists would not mind paying a nominal fee for a secure parking space, such as one with PIN-code access.

Mr Azman Omar, 47, felt that making parking available and secure would encourage more to ride for short trips. "I think it would encourage some aunties and uncles to cycle to the MRT stations instead," said the sales and retail manager.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2016, with the headline 'More bicycle parking to be rolled out at MRT stations'. Print Edition | Subscribe