A cycling path in Pasir Ris Drive 3. Over the next 15 years, the LTA will connect cycling paths between adjacent towns “where there is sufficient demand”. It will also explore providing inter-town routes to commute to the CBD.
SINGAPORE - By 2030, cyclists could possibly ride from their homes in the suburbs to work in the city via a comprehensive, islandwide cycling-path network that stretches more than 700km.
The Government revealed its plans to further expand off-road cycling paths and support cycling as an alternative mode of transport in the newly launched Land Transport Masterplan 2013 on Monday.
The aim is to provide "a seamless cycling experience," said Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew when he unveiled the masterplan, which maps out Singapore's future land transport landscape. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will connect cycling paths between adjacent towns "where there is sufficient demand" over the next 15 years.
It will also work with other agencies such as the Urban Redevelopment Authority and National Parks Board to explore providing inter-town cycling routes for cyclists to commute to the Central Business District (CBD).
Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck, a long-time champion of cycling, said this masterplan reflects a change in the Government's mindset from one of viewing cycling as a means to connect commuters to transport nodes, to recognising it as a mode of commuting.
Calling it "real progress", he noted that cycling is a sustainable and convenient mode of transport that brings health benefits and could also ease congestion on the roads.
The off-road cycling path network now spans about 12.1km within towns such as Tampines, Sembawang and Yishun.
This will go up to about 190km by 2020. Eventually, all 26 Housing Board towns will have a network of dedicated cycling paths for residents to ride to MRT stations and neighbourhood centres.
The LTA will also integrate these intra-town paths with park connectors to form a 700km network by 2030. The current park connector network spans about 250km and will be extended.
More bicycle racks will also be built at MRT stations, HDB blocks, amenities, schools and other places when there is demand. The LTA will also look into enhancing security for bicycles, through better design of parking facilities and public education campaigns.
Mr Francis Chu, 53, co-founder of cycling group LoveCyclingSg, noted that if more people could cycle to the city, that could help relieve congestion on the road and overcrowding in public transport.
But there is also a need to make the CBD safe for cyclists, he said. "There's heavy traffic, and no provision of space for cyclists. That makes it intimidating for a regular commuter."
Tampines GRC MP Irene Ng said it is "refreshing" that the LTA is now open to providing links for commuters to cycle to the city.
However, she expressed disappointment that the focus is still solely on off-road cycling. While a safer option for cyclists, she noted that such paths cannot be built everywhere due to space constraints.
Cyclists will still have to ride on footpaths and roads at some point in their journey, so the challenge is in creating a seamless cycling network, she said.
"Does LTA recognise that cyclists have a right to be on the road? If it does, how to make it safer for them to ride on roads? How to reduce the dangers of heavy vehicles? This is absent in the master- plan," she said.
Ms Ng also highlighted the issue of cyclists riding on footpaths. It is illegal to do so now in all towns except Tampines.
"Improving cycling infrastructure is important, but this has to be accompanied by a regulatory framework for cycling as a mode of transport."ride.asiaone.com