SINGAPORE - Residents of seven towns in eastern and north-eastern Singapore will get new cycling paths in their neighbourhoods from 2024, as part of plans to expand the cycling networks in those places in stages.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Thursday it has called a tender for the construction of about 55km of new cycling paths in Geylang, Hougang, Kaki Bukit, Marine Parade, Potong Pasir, Sengkang and Serangoon.
This is the first of three phases of construction, and more tenders to build cycling paths in these seven towns, as well as other estates, are expected to be called in the future.
According to tender documents seen by The Straits Times, there will be about 14.2km of new cycling paths built in Geylang in this first phase, as well as 11.5km in Serangoon, 9.8km in Sengkang, 8.4km in Hougang, 5.3km in Marine Parade, 4.1km in Kaki Bukit and 2.7km in Potong Pasir.
According to government procurement website GeBiz, the contract for this tender is expected to start on Aug 28, 2023, and end on Feb 28, 2025, with an expected delivery date of Dec 31, 2024.
The new cycling paths are part of LTA’s goal to double the existing cycling network here from 530km now to 1,300km by 2030.
LTA said the new cycling paths will connect residents to key amenities, such as transport nodes and schools, and improve cycling links between towns.
The authority will also build more supporting infrastructure, such as bicycle parking facilities, bicycle crossings, wheeling ramps and map boards.
For instance, LTA is proposing to build a new cycling bridge across Tampines Expressway in Sengkang, linking Punggol MRT station with Sengkang Sculpture Park.
Another 3,000 bicycle parking spaces will also be added to MRT stations here by 2025, LTA said. This is on top of the existing 254,000 spaces around the island.
The construction of the new cycling paths will involve widening existing footpaths in the seven towns to create more space for walking and cycling.
As the towns are mature and built up, some existing road space may be repurposed, and facilities such as drains and bus stops may be moved to make way for the new cycling paths.
LTA said it will work closely with other agencies to assess the technical feasibility of these changes and engage other stakeholders ahead of time.
When its 2030 plans are realised, LTA expects eight in 10 public housing residents to be within minutes of their nearest cycling path network.
The construction of the new cycling paths in the seven towns comes after LTA commissioned a traffic study in 2021 to assess whether parts of more than 20 roads in the north-east and eastern parts of the island could be reclaimed and turned to cycling paths.
The study considered stretches along heavily utilised roads such as Aljunied Road, Braddell Road, Upper Serangoon Road, Upper Paya Lebar Road and MacPherson Road.
LTA had also sought engineering consultancy services to design 158.9km of new cycling paths and related infrastructure in the eastern sector of Singapore, with construction of these paths to be carried out in three phases until 2030.
LTA on Thursday said it has made steady progress towards expanding the cycling path network here, despite the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic over the past two years.
It cited the more than 30km of cycling paths that have been recently completed in Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, the Central Business District (CBD), Taman Jurong, Tampines and Toa Payoh.
Excluding the CBD, Singapore now has 10 towns with cycling paths, including Bedok, Changi-Simei, Jurong Lake District, Pasir Ris, Punggol and Sembawang, LTA added.
It said works on more cycling paths are also currently in progress in Bishan, Bukit Panjang, Choa Chu Kang, Toa Payoh and Woodlands.
The authority also highlighted recent projects to improve inter-town connectivity for active mobility users, such as the Geylang to city inter-town route.
LTA said it will continue with its education and outreach efforts to foster a safe, responsible and gracious active mobility culture here, in tandem with the infrastructural enhancements.
Mr Sitoh Yih Pin, MP for Potong Pasir, welcomed Thursday’s news.
He said more residents in his ward have been picking up cycling since the pandemic struck, and building up cycling infrastructure will support this trend.
Properly demarcated cycling paths will also improve safety for road users and pedestrians, he added.
Sengkang GRC MPs He Ting Ru, Jamus Lim and Louis Chua said they look forward to working closely with LTA on the project.
In 2022, the three MPs had asked Sengkang residents for ideas on how to improve the cycling experience in the town. They said they are looking forward to sharing their findings with the authorities.
Cycling enthusiasts also welcomed the news.
“More dedicated cycling paths are good, especially for newer, less experienced riders or those who do not appreciate the current road conditions,” said Mr Woon Taiwoon, co-founder of recreational cycling group Love Cycling SG.
“As the bike paths become more pervasive and connected, it will get more attractive to cycle. What people want is a safe, easy, direct route,” he added.
Mr Francis Chu, fellow co-founder of Love Cycling SG, said LTA should look into ways to physically separate cyclists from pedestrians to improve the safety of path users.
He also suggested introducing continuous cycling paths along major roads, such as Geylang Road, where cyclists need to stop at every intersection to give way to cars turning into and out of side roads.
Singapore Cycling Federation president Hing Siong Chen said the new cycling paths – many of which will be located in older housing estates – will improve connectivity and safety, especially for more elderly commuters.
Dr Hing also stressed the importance of education and public awareness, adding: “It takes the whole nation to realise our car-lite vision for the future and to promote commutes using active mobility devices.”