Call for suggestions on ways to improve cycling experience in Sengkang

According to a cycling route map on LTA's website, there are currently less than 2km of dedicated cycling paths in the area. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Residents of Sengkang have been asked to provide suggestions on how to improve the cycling experience in their town in an open call that was put up online on Sunday (July 24).

This comes amid requests by some for more infrastructure there, as the roads and sidewalks have become busy with cyclists in recent years.

Widening pavements in high-traffic areas and carving out designated bicycle lanes from roads with lower traffic were among the ideas mooted by Sengkang GRC MPs He Ting Ru, Jamus Lim and Louis Chua, who put out the call for feedback. The latter proposal was previously raised by Associate Professor Lim during the debate on the Ministry of Transport's budget earlier this year.

In a Facebook post, the MPs said most of Sengkang town is located within 2km of the MRT system, but the existing cycling paths there do not link well to transport nodes and park connectors in the area.

"This presents a great opportunity for our town to get off cars and get onto bicycles, be it for commuting to the MRT or for leisure," they added.

The aim is to work with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to implement some of the proposals from residents, as the Government looks to expand the islandwide cycling path network from 500km now to about 1,300km by 2030.

In February last year, The Straits Times reported that Sengkang's cycling path network could span 28.3km by 2030, with feasibility studies under way.

According to a cycling route map on LTA's website, there are currently less than 2km of dedicated cycling paths in the area.

Ms He, Prof Lim and Mr Chua told ST the key issue is that Sengkang does not have a high enough density of cycling paths, despite the significant number of cyclists there. They suggested that there is potential for Sengkang to be a walking and cycling town, alongside Tampines and Ang Mo Kio.

Ang Mo Kio was earmarked as a model walking and cycling town in 2014 and is slated to have 27km of cycling paths by 2026. Tampines became the second such town in 2017, with 17km of cycling paths now. This will grow to 30km by 2026.

The MPs said Sengkang is both relatively compact and flat, which makes it more conducive for cycling than other towns. Residents have also flagged that the footpaths in the town can be narrow and congested.

"We have observed that particularly around Sengkang Central and along the main thoroughfares, there are a higher number of delivery riders, especially during the rush hour," said the MPs, noting that this adds to congestion on footpaths there.

Polytechnic student Farhan Sam, 21, who lives in Sengkang and also delivers food in the area, prefers to cycle on the road as it is faster than riding on the pavement.

He said dedicated bicycle lanes on the road will be helpful for delivery workers as it will make it safer.

Fellow resident Michael Jude, 72, cycles only on pavements as the roads are too dangerous for him.

While some of the footpaths are narrow, he said the current infrastructure can generally accommodate both cyclists and pedestrians for now.

Instead, the part-time food safety trainer would like more bicycle parking spaces to be provided as the existing ones are already filled to the brim.

Another resident, Mr Lum Choon Hoe, 57, said he hopes that more cycling paths can be built as the sidewalks are often packed with pedestrians when he cycles to and from work during peak periods.

"People don't give way to each other so it is difficult," added the hospital worker.

Suggestions can be submitted from now till Aug 14 via an online form that can be found on the Sengkang GRC Facebook page.

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