The Sunday Times says

Freewheeling options in the city

The aspiration of an overall car-lite Singapore is being given some form in plans that include the city centre as well. A comprehensive cycling network is to be built with bicycle paths connecting housing estates in the north, south, east and west to the city centre. An important part of the reinvention of the commuting landscape will be played by a car-lite Bencoolen Street. It has been revitalised, with two of the four original car lanes converted into wider walking spaces for pedestrians, and a dedicated cycling path. Sheltered linkways will provide pedestrians comfortable access from transport nodes to nearby spots.

The dedicated cycling path along Bencoolen Street will link up to Queenstown to the west, Bishan and the North-South Corridor to the north, and the Central Area cycling network to the south. In this way, among others, the commuting route map would be redrawn.

New cycling paths, complemented by greater freedom to carry foldable bikes and electric scooters on buses and trains, offer Singaporeans a good chance to mix urban transport options. It is up to individuals to decide what combinations suit them best on different occasions.

Being an ambitious infrastructural vision, citizens would need to align their mental coordinates with it, for the commuting plans to work. Cars are a throwback to an era when they represented social mobility as much as physical convenience. Sadly, they do so even today, although advanced societies, particularly in Europe, have long envisioned their future as lying beyond a psychological dependence on ecologically unfriendly cars. It is time that people here also develop an instinctive preference for modes of transport that are more inclusive, and for pathways that call for a sharing spirit. When socialised mobility overtakes old notions of social mobility, it can be said that Singaporeans have truly arrived.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 04, 2017, with the headline 'Freewheeling options in the city'. Print Edition | Subscribe