SINGAPORE - Cycling from home to the city will soon be easier.
In the near future, Singapore will boast a comprehensive cycling network with dedicated bicycle paths connecting housing estates in the north, south, east and west to the city centre.
Key to this network is the 450m-long Bencoolen Street, which has been spruced up with a cycling path and more than 125 bicycle parking lots.
Its cycling path will connect to existing and future cycling routes all over Singapore. It will link to Queenstown in the west, Bishan and the North South corridor in the north, and the central area cycling network in the city - which will in turn be linked to the Marina Bay area and the eastern part of Singapore via East Coast Park.
These plans, which aim to make the city centre car-lite, were unveiled by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Sunday (May 28) at the launch of the revitalised Bencoolen Street.
The LTA will be calling a tender in the coming months for firms to design and construct the proposed central area cycling network, which does not have a targeted completion date yet.
A more walkable and bike-friendly Civic District
Two of Bencoolen Street's four original car lanes have been converted into footpaths for pedestrians and a cycling path. Sheltered linkways now connect bus stops and the Bras Basah MRT station to nearby developments such as Manulife Centre and the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa).
The authorities also worked with students and alumni from Nafa to design and install unique benches along the street.
Besides Bencoolen Street, similar enhancement works to make the Civic District more walkable and people-friendly were completed this month.
One side of Anderson Bridge has been pedestrianised, creating a gateway into the arts and cultural precinct. Road space at Connaught Drive, Empress Place, Old Parliament Lane and St Andrew's Road have earlier been reclaimed for pedestrian use.
By 2020, Coleman Street, Armenian Street and Waterloo Street will also be transformed, with works commencing next year.
Part of Armenian Street will be fully pedestrianised and transformed into an urban park by the National Parks Board.
Coleman Street and Waterloo Street will each have one vehicular lane reclaimed for wider sidewalks.
A shared cycling and walking path will be constructed along Coleman Street and Armenian Street to form part of the proposed central area cycling network.
Foldable bikes allowed on public transport all day
From June 1, commuters can continue to bring their foldable bikes and personal mobility devices (PMDs) on buses and trains at all hours.
A six-month trial by the LTA and public transport operators, due to end this month, showed that most commuters were accepting of such practices, said LTA's deputy chief executive for public transport Jeremy Yap.
"While we see more commuters carrying these devices into train stations during the trial, majority were responsible and observed the stipulated rules and guidelines," he said. "Many also expressed support for the initiative as it provided passengers another option for their first-and-last-mile commute."
The foldable bicycles and PMDS have to meet the following dimensions - a length of up to 120cm, a height of 70cm and a width of 40cm.
Posters highlighting the set of rules involved will be put up at train stations and bus interchanges islandwide.
For example, bikes and PMDs must be folded at all times and switched off when brought on board trains and buses. They are also not allowed on the staircase or upper decks of double-decker buses.
Those who do not comply with the rules will be denied entry into the train station or bus, and can be fined up to $500 for each offence.
Rules and Guidelines for Bringing Foldable bicycles and Personal Mobility Devices
On Board Public Transport
- Foldable bicycles/personal mobility devices must not exceed 120cm by 70cm by 40cm when folded.
- Foldable bicycles/personal mobility devices must be folded at all times in the MRT/LRT stations, bus interchanges/terminals and on trains and buses.
- Motorised personal mobility devices must be switched off when brought on board trains and buses.
- Commuters must not ride their foldable bicycles/personal mobility devices within the MRT/LRT stations and bus interchanges/terminals. Instead, commuters should push or carry their folded devices.
- Wheels of foldable bicycles/personal mobility devices must be wrapped up if they are dirty or wet.
- Protruding parts likely to cause injury or damage property must be covered up or retracted (e.g. handle bars and bicycle pedals).
- Only one foldable bicycle/personal mobility devices is allowed on a bus at any one time.
- Foldable bicycles/personal mobility devices are not allowed on the upper deck of a bus or on the staircase leading to the upper deck.
- Commuters should be responsible for the safe carriage of their foldable bicycles/personal mobility devices and should hold or carry their foldable bicycles/personal mobility devices.
- Foldable bicycles/personal mobility devices should not block the aisles and doors or impede commuters’ movement at any time.
- When travelling by train, commuters with foldable bicycles/personal mobility devices should use the first or last car, which is usually less crowded.
- Commuters with foldable bicycles/personal mobility devices should use the wide fare gates at MRT/LRT stations where they are available.