New cycling paths to link city to housing estates

Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan parking his bicycle at the launch of the revitalised Bencoolen Street, on May 28, 2017.
Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan parking his bicycle at the launch of the revitalised Bencoolen Street, on May 28, 2017.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Cyclists on Bencoolen Street.
Cyclists on Bencoolen Street.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Cyclists and personal mobility device (PMD) users on Bencoolen Street.
Cyclists and personal mobility device (PMD) users on Bencoolen Street.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Bicycle network part of plans for car-lite city centre; tender to be called in coming months

New paths are being laid for those looking to cycle from home to the city - and within it.

Singapore plans to soon build a comprehensive cycling network with bicycle paths connecting housing estates in the north, south, east and west to the city centre.

A key part of this web is the 450m Bencoolen Street, with a cycling path that will connect to Queenstown in the west, Bishan and the North-South corridor in the north, and the central area cycling network in the city. The city network will, in turn, be linked to the Marina Bay area and the eastern part of Singapore via East Coast Park.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority yesterday announced the plans for a car-lite city centre at the launch of the revitalised Bencoolen Street.

The LTA will be calling a tender in the coming months for companies to design and construct the proposed central area cycling network.

Two of Bencoolen Street's four original car lanes have been converted into footpaths for pedestrians and a cycling path. The street will have more than 125 bicycle parking spaces. Sheltered linkways are in place to connect bus stops and the Bras Basah MRT station to nearby developments.

Similar enhancement works to make the Civic District more walkable and people-friendly were completed this month.

One side of Anderson Bridge has been pedestrianised, creating a gateway to the arts and cultural precinct. Road space in Connaught Drive, Empress Place, Old Parliament Lane and St Andrew's Road had earlier been reclaimed for pedestrian use.

By 2020, Coleman Street and Waterloo Street will each have one vehicular lane reclaimed for wider pavements.

A shared cycling and walking path will be constructed along Coleman Street and Armenian Street to form part of the proposed central area cycling network.

A senior transport research consultant at Nanyang Technological University, Mr Gopinath Menon, said having more cycling paths will encourage people to cycle longer distances - something they are currently wary of trying because "they don't feel safe on the roads".

IT manager Kim Yong, 53, who cycles at least once a week, welcomed the move, but added that Singapore's hot and humid weather deters him from cycling to work. "It would help if there were facilities for cyclists to shower and change into their office clothes," he said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 29, 2017, with the headline 'New cycling paths to link city to housing estates'. Print Edition | Subscribe