Concerns over carpark reductions because of bicycle spaces for new private developments unfounded: Experts

Some are worried that more bicycle parking will reduce carpark spaces in new developments. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A new ruling that requires all new developments to provide adequate spaces for bicycles is unlikely to affect the number of carpark spaces in private developments, experts say.

The ruling, which took effect on Tuesday (May 8), had sparked concerns among residents and those in retail outlet that cars would be partly squeezed out.

New developments must now provide a minimum number of parking spaces based on their development type.

For example, residential projects in Zone 1 (the central business district restricted zone and Marina Bay) and Zone 2 (outside Zone 1 but within 400m radius of train stations) must provide at least one bike space for every four home units.

The ruling aims to encourage people to adopt a car-lite lifestyle but some are worried that more bicycle parking will reduce carpark spaces in new developments.

But Mr Ku Swee Yong, chief executive of International Property Advisor, dismissed this: "Developers generally follow a one unit to one carpark space ratio. This is unlikely to change, it is standard."

Mr Ku added that it was a matter not of taking away car spaces but making extra provisions for cyclists.

"The bicycle spaces can easily fit if the design is well thought through," he said.

Mr Nicholas Mak, executive director of real-estate consultancy ZACD Group, agreed that carpark spaces would not be reduced.

"From a developer's point of view, they look at the specific clientele for the project," he noted.

"For retail spaces like malls, carpark spaces are very important for shoppers. With less, they will be less competitive.

"For example, Vivo City has over a 1,000 spots, but in festive periods they are all filled up. This is indicative of people's preference for driving to malls in Singapore. Developers will not compromise on this."

He cited luxury condominiums, where developers might even have to provide more, rather than fewer spaces regardless of the new ruling to cater to residents with multiple cars.

Mr Ku added: "What developers need to look at is the design of the bicycle lots and even facilities they may provide. Is it convenient? If there are say, access ramps, are they well connected, do they obstruct pedestrians?"

Some examples of convenient car-lite developments include UOL's Riverbank@Fernvale condo, which provides bicycle sharing facilities, and the upcoming Capitaland Funan development that will contain end-of-trip facilities for cycling enthusiasts.

It appears that some developers are keen to support Singapore's car-lite movement.

"We feel that it is a good idea to incorporate bicycle stations in all new developments, to support the growing trend in cycling and the green way of transport," said Ms Valerie Wong, general commercial manager of GuocoLand Limited. "We support the move to a 'car-lite' society."

Far East Organization also looks favourably on the new ruling. "With the incorporation of cycling facilities for the growing cycling community, we believe it will certainly encourage more to use this as an alternative mode of transportation," said Mr Augustine Tan, its executive director of property services. .

Ms Chan Jia Yi, 19, a resident of a condo in Clementi, noted: "It's good that new developments will have to incorporate bicycle lots. However, there is more to be done for a car-lite society and I hope developers will also think about facilities cyclists need."

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