Cycle paths for Punggol, Jurong Lake, East Coast

Punggol, Jurong Lake and East Coast will be the next three housing estates to receive bicycle networks of their own under the 2013 Land Transport Masterplan.

These off-road cycling paths will be built by 2017, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) told The Straits Times in response to queries.

Cycling path networks will also be completed in Yishun, Changi-Simei and Taman Jurong this year, the LTA said.

Earlier in February, the LTA completed a 13.3km network of paths in Pasir Ris - the third cycling town here so far after Tampines and Sembawang.

The LTA chose the towns based on "strong community interest and support for cycling", and the availability of land.

Cycling paths will be built in every housing estate by 2030, as part of the Government's plan to encourage bicycle use for "first and last mile" journeys. Part of its efforts include rolling out bicycle-sharing trials for the Jurong Lake District and Marina Bay city centre by the year's end.

Last month, the Government announced that it would hold a consultation exercise for rules on motorised bicycles and other personal mobility devices, which have grown in popularity.

In February, the LTA called a tender for consultants to design cycling networks for a further six HDB towns - Ang Mo Kio, Choa Chu Kang, Toa Payoh, Bukit Panjang, Woodlands and Bishan.

But how these networks will eventually turn out will depend on factors such as connections between residential areas and train or bus stations, and existing site conditions, said the LTA.

"Where we can, we will try to separate cycling paths from footpaths to allow pedestrians and cyclists to have their own space," the authority said.

The Straits Times understands that the design solutions being studied by the LTA include a model designed by the Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

Called the "level-of-service acceptability matrix", or Losam, the NTU model makes recommendations on whether cycling paths should be widened or segregated.

It matches pedestrian and cyclist traffic flow with a rating of how "serviceable" the path would be, said Associate Professor Wong Yiik Diew, director of NTU's Centre for Infrastructure Systems, who co-developed the model.

"This model will allow the authority to judge, for instance, that at areas near the train station with high traffic, you would need segregated paths," he said.

"Slightly further away, you might need to only widen existing footpaths. And if you go even further, perhaps you can just leave the existing paths alone."

Cyclists in towns with the upcoming networks are looking forward to the new paths.Contractor Muhammad Ghouse, 60, thinks they will make hiscommute to Bedok MRT station safer. "Sometimes, there are many pedestrians on the pavements... If there are bike paths, it would be good for old-timers like me," he said.

dansonc@sph.com.sg

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