Parliament: NParks to extend early morning 2-hour free parking to more parks

A gantry at the entrance to a carpark at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park on July 23, 2015.
A gantry at the entrance to a carpark at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park on July 23, 2015.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The National Parks Board (NParks) may extend a new two-hour-free parking policy to more parks across Singapore.

Last September, NParks revised operating hours for carparks at seven parks from 24 hours to 22 hours, freeing up a slot between 6.30am and 8.30am where drivers are not charged.

The seven are Admiralty, Bedok Reservoir, Changi Beach, Choa Chu Kang, Pasir Ris, Springleaf and Dairy Farm Nature Park.

Responding to questions in Parliament on Friday, Senior Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee said: "This is to benefit early morning park users, many of whom are seniors.

"NParks has been monitoring the usage patterns in these car parks and will consider extending this scheme to other parks."

NParks manages 71 carparks in or near parks across Singapore. Of the 71, 26 are charged to regulate usage and to ensure availability of lots for park users. Three are undergoing redevelopment while 42 are currently free of charge.

Mr Lee observed that users who park their vehicles in carparks near parks included offpeak car owners, used car dealers, goods vehicle owners and residents in the vicinity.

Often, they park overnight, thus depriving early morning park visitors of parking spaces. As such, NParks uses the charging mechanism to dissuade these users from parking near parks.

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Mr Lee said most parks are "within 400m or a 10-minute walk from residential areas". And they are "well-linked by the extensive park connector network and are served by public transport".

Jurong GRC MP Tan Wu Meng asked if the free parking or concessionary rates could be extended to "residents holding a season HDB parking label within a reasonable vicinity".

Mr Lee said: "Users of our parks come from all over the island. Hence it would be difficult to justify why those staying within the vicinity of a park should be given preferential treatment."

NParks issued 1,178 parking summonses last year, compared with 1,815 and 1,124 in 2014 and 2013 respectively.

christan@sph.com.sg