Reconsider North-South Corridor's role in car-lite vision

On the one hand, the Land Transport Authority and the Urban Redevelopment Authority speak glowingly about a car-lite society. On the other hand, they can't seem to shake off the car in their infrastructural plans (Commuters and cyclists will benefit from North-South Corridor, by LTA and URA; March 13).

We would be better off investing the estimated $7 billion to $8 billion cost of building the North-South Corridor in expanding the MRT network instead to serve the growing population living in the north and north-east, starting with a realignment of the planned Cross-Island Line northwards.

The LTA and URA should share their business case for the North-South corridor, including estimates for the number of cyclists who will be using this long stretch on a daily basis, especially if these residents also have easy access to the MRT and public transport.

Is it inconceivable for existing expressways to be rejigged for both cyclists and express buses, instead of building a whole new one from scratch?

In order to galvanise a shift from car ownership to public transport use on our little red dot, we must seek to increase the latter's attractiveness while reducing the former's allure.

Increased ridership on public transport should raise economies of scale as well as keep fares and taxes affordable for all, while fewer cars and less tar and concrete in our environment should improve liveability all round.

The way forward for tiny Singapore is to raise our reliance on public transport for our daily commute to up to 85 per cent at least, so that instead of building more roads like the LTA and URA are planning to do, we can reclaim some land for other more worthy causes.

Mindsets cannot remain rooted in the past if Singapore is to move forward.

Toh Cheng Seong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2018, with the headline 'Reconsider North-South Corridor's role in car-lite vision'. Print Edition | Subscribe