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Agencies looking into ways to make Singapore car-lite

Developers will soon need to incorporate pedestrians' and cyclists' needs in their plans; car sharing schemes also being studied
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 - 05:50

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Ways are being sought to make Singapore's public spaces more car-lite and people-friendly, by making streets, squares and footpaths more well-connected and conducive for walking and cycling.

Singapore

WAYS are being sought to make Singapore's public spaces more car-lite and people-friendly, by making streets, squares and footpaths more well-connected and conducive for walking and cycling.

There are plans for a comprehensive coverage of underground pedestrian links, street-level walkways and elevated link-bridges in the Central Business District, the Jurong Lake District and in Singapore's regional centres, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong told Parliament on Monday.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) will soon require developers to incorporate the needs of pedestrians and cyclists upfront in their development plans.

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For example, developers will have to review the locations of the vehicular access points to minimise conflict with pedestrians and cyclists, and take into account key pedestrian- and cyclist-access routes; they will also have to look into the location of bicycle-parking facilities.

This is especially critical for developments with high footfall, such as schools, malls, office buildings and business parks.

To improve connectivity, the National Development ministry will review the rules to mandate existing developments to receive new elevated and underground links.

"Once this is in place, we plan to get more pedestrian connections along Orchard Road and other areas," Mr Wong said.

The government will also build more dedicated paths for walking, jogging and cycling in every HDB estate, and create routes to connect residential towns to the city centre.

"This will enable people to get to their workplaces without having to drive. For a start, we are looking at towns that are within a 30-minute cycling distance to the city, so we are studying these six routes to the city." (See map)

These cover connections from towns and estates in various regions: from the east such as Geylang and Marine Parade; north-east such as Hougang and MacPherson and the west such as Queenstown and Bukit Merah.

These routes are largely already in place through park connectors, but are not seamless. The gaps along the way will be plugged.

When completed, residents in Bishan, Bidadari, Toa Payoh will have a more direct travelling experience from their towns to the city centre, he said.

Wider pedestrian sidewalks and cycling and walking paths will also connect to the major office developments; some of these pathways are already in place in Marina Bay.

Another way to engender a car-lite culture is to facilitate more car-sharing schemes, such as through the use of electric cars. Agencies are studying this, as well as the charging infrastructure needed to facilitate the take-up of electric vehicles, he added.

"It will take time to bring about this mindset shift towards a car-lite Singapore. That's why we've started by pedestrianising our vehicular roads where possible to create car-free zones, be it on weekends, or even on a permanent basis," he said.

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