Safe rides from MRT to park connectors

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will build short cycling links to connect 11 MRT stations to nearby park connectors. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will build short cycling links to connect 11 MRT stations to nearby park connectors. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will build short cycling links to connect 11 MRT stations to nearby park connectors.

It is seeking a contractor to build these off-road paths, which will plug some gaps in the existing cycling network and range from tens to hundreds of metres long.

The links will be built at these MRT stations: Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Woodlands, Marsiling, Promenade, Hougang, Sengkang, Potong Pasir, Dover, Clementi and Yew Tee.

An LTA spokesman said work to build a cycling link in Buangkok has begun, and added: "These links will allow cyclists to travel on dedicated cycling paths to the nearest MRT station without having to go onto the roads."

The Park Connector Network run by the National Parks Board is linked to some MRT stations, but not all. This means cyclists riding from a station to a park connector either have to brave the roads or cycle on the footpath, which is illegal in all estates but Tampines.

Many choose to cycle on footpaths, where they also have to jostle with pedestrians for space.

Cyclists will have a smoother ride when the links are ready. The LTA did not provide a completion date. Besides these links, the Government is also building more cycling paths in various housing estates and elsewhere islandwide.

Mr Han Jok Kwang, 59, an avid recreational cyclist, said there is "tremendous scope" to close gaps in the cycling network quickly and make it safer.

For instance, the park connector outside ITE College Central along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5 could be extended to Yio Chu Kang MRT station. More students cycling would take pressure off buses, he said.

Transport researcher Alexander Erath of the Singapore-ETH Centre said the links will benefit leisure cyclists using foldable bikes, but are less useful for those who commute as park connectors are not directly linked to major job centres.

Dr Erath added that traffic junctions have to be made safer. "The junction design desires careful consideration, as junctions are much more accident prone than the stretches in between."

He cited the Dutch system as an example, where cycling paths are built next to the zebra crossing on the inner side of the junction.

Besides improving junction safety, he hopes that cyclists will not have to dismount and push at every junction, and that waiting times can be reduced.

He said: "People like to ride, not to stop - especially in hot and humid Singapore. Therefore it is important that the unavoidable stops at junctions are as short as possible."

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