Tuesday 25 November 2014

New pedestrian mall J Link to boost connectivity at Jurong Gateway

By Alice Chia, Channel NewsAsia, 23 Nov 2014

A new pedestrian mall in Jurong Gateway was officially opened on Sunday (Nov 23), boosting connectivity and vibrancy in the area.

Costing about S$4.8 million, J Link is located between JCube shopping mall and a row of shops at Blk 135 Jurong Gateway Road.

With the 270-metre long shopping area, residents can now enjoy a wider and uncluttered covered walkway from Jurong East MRT station to the Science Centre at Lakeside.

Izabella Chia, a Jurong East resident, said: "In the past, there wasn't this walkway. So when it rained, it got really bad. With the increased sheltered walkways, I think it helps to prevent us from getting wet. Also, during the rainy season, (if I am) without an umbrella, this is really a lifesaver."

Previously, the covered walkway was narrow and the outdoor display area was cluttered with merchandise. Since then, the outdoor display areas have been removed or reorganised to display goods in a neater manner.

The worn-out canopy along the walkway was also upgraded with aluminium roof panels.

Other improvements include a sheltered walkway to Jurong Regional Library. Previously, there was no direct connection to the library from the area, and people walked on dirt tracks on the grass patch.

J Link is also designed as a public space where residents and visitors can take part in gatherings and community activities.

A key feature is the Canopy, a pavilion with greenery on its roof that provides a space for activities. It has about 22,000 plants on its roof. This helps to bring down the temperature at the pavilion and keep its environment cool. It has already hosted two community events - a Children's Day celebration and a movie screening.

A playground next to it offers parents and children a space to gather, have fun and unwind.

There is also a heritage corner, where the public can learn more about the history of Jurong from information panels. An art exhibition corner showcases the works of residents and local artists.

"We bear in mind that a public space should be designed for the public. So for this project, during the consultation, for the design and development stage, we worked very closely with the multiple agencies, as well as the local grassroots and community to better understand what their needs are," said URA's architect (conservation and urban design group) Lim Chu Hwai.

These developments will benefit about 1 million residents staying in the West.

Besides residents, businesses also stand to gain from the pedestrian mall. "These activities are likely to benefit retailers in this area. With more people coming to this area, business will improve too," said Henry Tan, chairman of Jurong East Town Centre Merchants' Association.

The pedestrian mall is an Environmental Improvement Project by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). It is also part of the Housing & Development Board's Remaking Our Heartland plans for the Jurong Lake area.

J Link was officially opened on Sunday (Nov 23) by Ms Grace Fu, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Adviser for Yuhua Grassroots Organisations, at the Clean and Green Singapore@Yuhua 2014.

Ms Fu said: "Our vision for Jurong Lake District is one outstanding live-work-play district that is sustainable, smart and connected. We envision a people-centric district, bustling with activities, where people can find easy mobility while exploring all that it has to offer. We therefore placed strong emphasis in enhancing accessibility, connectivity, and walking and cycling-friendliness.

"Since 2008, we have many exciting plans being executed in Jurong Lake District. Jurong Gateway is taking shape, the commercial centres are doing very well. And we have many pedestrians who are coming through between the MRT stations as well as the HDB shops, but the feedback has been the connectivity.

"As new developments are being implemented, you will find that the connection through the older estates is sometimes a problem. The walkway may not be level, and also you find that there may not be a through path to connect, to join up the various amenities. What we like to see in Jurong Lake is a great connectivity so that people can walk easily and be connected to transport nodes."

The URA is also extending a network of elevated walkways called J-Walk. It will link to future developments such as the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. 

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