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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     May 30, 2017  








New Central Area cycling network in the pipeline

SINGAPORE: An expanded cycling network in and around the Central Business District is in the works, authorities said on Sunday (May 28) at the official unveiling of the Bencoolen Street cycling path.

The new Central Area network will see more vehicle lanes turned into sidewalks, and a shared bicycle and walking path lining Coleman Street and Armenian Street, linking cyclists to areas like Marina Bay and Fort Canning Park.

In a joint release, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said one vehicle lane on Coleman Street and Waterloo Street each will be reclaimed. The National Parks Board will also turn part of Armenian Street into an urban park.

There is currently no fixed date for the completion of the Central Area cycling network, and LTA said it will be calling a tender for its design and construction in the coming months.

The move comes as authorities reclaim more road space and create more walking and cycling paths, in a bid to nudge Singaporeans towards using cycling as a form of transport, amid increasing land constraints and an ageing rail system.

By 2030, authorities say they hope to more than double the current 240km of cycling paths, linking HDB estates to park connectors and the city centre.

The Central Area network, which currently consists of a 9.3km cycling path in the Marina Bay area will connect, among other areas, to the east of Singapore via East Coast Park. It will also be linked to the Bencoolen Street cycling path alongside other features to make the area more friendly for cyclists and pedestrians.

First announced in November 2016, changes to Bencoolen Street include converting two of four car lanes converted into pedestrian paths. Over 125 new bicycle parking lots have also been installed along the street.

The 450m Bencoolen Street cycling path links up to Queenstown-City to the west, Bishan-City and the North South Corridor to the north, and the Central Area network to the south.

The unveiling of Bencoolen Street was part of Car Free Sunday - an initiative to close off certain roads for public activities, first launched in 2016.

“We all recognise that it's not feasible to continue to keep building roads, to rely on private transport," said Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Senior Director of Urban Design Andrew Fassam. "So these projects help to demonstrate and give confidence that we don't need to continue to rely on cars and private transport. And of course now cycling is taking off."

By 2020, authorities say commuters can also expect to see new paths in towns like Bishan, Choa Chu Kang and Bukit Panjang, building on existing paths in cycling towns like Ang Mo Kio.

"We did get people telling us that they felt much safer, much more likely to cycle now that we have a proper infrastructure," said Ong Lay Hua, Deputy Director at the LTA’s Active Mobility Unit. "We are quite heartened by that, so that gives us the confidence to continue on this pace."

LTA also announced that from Jun 1, 2017 following the end of a six-month trial, commuters can continue to carry foldable bicycles and personal mobility devices (PMDs) on board public transport at all hours of the day.



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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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