Monday 17 September 2018

Walk2Ride: LTA completes 200km worth of sheltered walkways under $300 million initiative; Public consultation for Land Transport Master Plan 2040 launched on 19 Sep 2018

New covered walkways to hit 200km mark
Last 150m stretch of added pathways under Walk2Ride scheme to be completed on Wednesday, Sept 19
By Rachel Au-Yong, Housing Correspondent, The Sunday Times, 16 Sep 2018

An ambitious programme to provide more covered walkways here will achieve a major milestone on Wednesday with the completion of 200km worth of new paths.

These pathways, which cost $300 million to build, are more than four times the 46km worth of walkways built before the launch of the Walk2Ride programme in 2013.

The last 150m stretch of the 200km of added walkways will be completed outside Tekka Centre in Little India on Wednesday. A ceremony to be attended by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be held to mark the occasion.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said: "We know that safe, comfortable walkways are necessary to get Singaporeans to #WalkCycleRide and make Singapore car-lite. And in our tropical weather, they have to be sheltered too."

Launched in 2013, Walk2Ride sought to link commuters from MRT stations to residences and amenities such as schools and healthcare facilities within a 400m radius, as well as to bus interchanges, LRT stations and some bus stops within a 200m radius.

Before this, sheltered walkways were provided from transport nodes to schools and healthcare facilities only within a 200m radius. They were also provided within residential estates by town councils.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it will continue to add to the network of sheltered walkways.

To minimise inconvenience to residents, as well as ensure the durability of the walkways, the LTA had prefabricated all materials off-site to speed up the installation process.

The walkways were also standardised to allow modifications later. They were made with galvanised steel and aluminium, which the LTA said are more durable and cheaper to maintain.

In addition, the walkways are supported on one post - as opposed to two - to maximise the space for commuters.

For Fajar Secondary School vice-principal Guinieve Yeo, the sheltered walkways put up at the start of the year near the school in Bukit Panjang have had a noticeable impact on her students: fewer are late now. "Even when it's rainy, they can come to school on time," she said. "They don't have to wait out a storm at an HDB void deck or MRT station."

In addition to connected walkways in the neighbourhood, the LTA "filled in" a 6m-gap between an existing walkway and the school's.

Another beneficiary is full-time national serviceman Ferdinand Ezekial Francis, 21, who can now make his way to South View LRT station from his Bukit Panjang Housing Board flat come rain or shine.

"I don't carry an umbrella, so the walkway has been good."

Asked about the Walk2Ride programme, Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah, who had in March last year raised in Parliament the case of a walkway ending 10m short of Khatib MRT station, said: "All gao dim (taken care of) already."

But she hoped the authorities can move on to a second phase of the programme.

"If we want to encourage residents to walk more, the Government can consider a Walk2Ride extension beyond the 400m radius to even 1km, for some areas."

More covered paths connecting transport nodes to amenities
By Rachel Au-Yong, Housing Correspondent, The Sunday Times, 16 Sep 2018

Along a 300m stretch outside Jelapang LRT station in Bukit Panjang, residents make their way to the station come rain or shine under a sheltered walkway.

Three years ago, a heavy downpour would have meant a circuitous route through Housing Board blocks in an attempt to find the driest route to the LRT station.

And a blazing sun would have led some, like human resource manager Lu Lau, 29, to give up on public transport and hail a cab. "I want to go green, but the Singapore sun makes it super hard sometimes," she said, tongue firmly in cheek.

But a new covered walkway built under the Land Transport Authority's Walk2Ride programme has given residents like Ms Lau fewer excuses to not use public transport.

In the last five years, more covered walkways have been built under the programme to connect transport nodes like MRT stations to amenities such as schools and healthcare facilities.

On Wednesday, the scheme will mark the completion of 200km worth of new walkways islandwide, which cost about $300 million to build. The new walkways are more than four times the length of existing ones before the scheme was rolled out in 2013.

In Bukit Panjang, residents have given the new walkways the thumbs up, not just for providing shelter from the weather but also a wider path that accommodates both pedestrians and users of personal mobility devices (PMDs).

Said marine salesman Toh Jiabao, 32, who was spotted on his electric scooter along Bukit Panjang Ring Road: "There's enough space for a PMD user and three people to go through at the same time.

"And the other good thing is that I don't have to worry about getting my bike wet when it rains."

Some walkways even offer benches as rest spots.

Ms Nur Ashikin Rahim, who recently fractured her leg, was seen taking a break on a bench near the crossroads of Jelebu Road and Bukit Panjang Road. Said the 19-year-old polytechnic student: "I am still going for rehab classes, but I like that there are benches on my walk home. It motivates me to keep going and I can take a short break."

Residents interviewed said they were happy with the walkways and some hoped the LTA could provide even more coverage.

Customer service officer Christine Neo, 32, said she uses the Jelapang LRT walkway when she accompanies her six-year-old daughter to pre-school every day.

But the 550B Segar Road resident hoped that a stretch connecting her HDB block to the current walkway, which ends outside West Spring Primary School across the road, could be bridged with a similar shelter.

"It's very difficult to handle a giant umbrella and a small daughter at the same time, so I'm grateful for the walkway already," she said.

"But it would be even better if these small stretches could be completely connected one day."

* Launch of the Land Transport Master Plan 2040 Conversation

LTA seeks ideas to realise Singapore's car-lite dream
Public urged to give their feedback on strategies for next land transport masterplan
By Adrian Lim, Transport Correspondent, The Straits Times, 20 Sep 2018

The answer is clear: Singapore wants to go car-lite.

But the question is how to coax more Singaporeans to make walking, cycling or taking public transport their preferred choice for commuting.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA), which is working on the next transport masterplan, wants people to give their ideas on what can work.

Some strategies LTA has suggested include developing more road corridors with dedicated bus lanes and cycling paths, and having more direct travel options such as on-demand bus services.

The feedback will go towards drawing up the Land Transport Master Plan (LTMP) 2040.

To help steer the discussion, a 13-page public consultation document on the LTMP 2040 was launched yesterday by Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary at LTA's Hampshire Road headquarters.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the guest of honour at the event, opened the SG Mobility Gallery, a 1,000 sq m showcase offering visitors a glimpse into the future of Singapore's land transport system.

Mr Lee also walked from the LTA premises to the nearby Tekka Centre, where a ceremony was held to mark the completion of LTA's $300 million Walk2Ride initiative, which started in 2013.

The 150m linkway connecting Little India MRT station and Tekka Market is the latest covered walkway to be finished under Walk2Ride. It is also the last stretch to be completed in the programme to build new covered pathways totalling 200km, set out in the previous masterplan.

The public consultation paper for LTA's 2040 masterplan has three broad themes.

The first is about how walking, cycling and riding can be made the preferred ways to travel, the second is on making these modes of commuting easier and more inclusive, and the third looks at how a land transport system can improve the quality of life.

Eight strategies have been spelt out, which include developing regional centres so that jobs and amenities are closer to home, and transforming towns to be more car-lite, safer and more walkable.

Dr Janil said there are trade-offs to consider. "If we are assigning a little bit more land towards walking, cycling and riding in all of its forms, that has an impact on what we can do with roads."

LTA has appointed an advisory panel, chaired by Dr Janil and comprising 14 other members. The panel will consider public views and give recommendations early next year.

LTA will also hold focus group discussions from next month to January next year. One area raised by panel member and veteran unionist K. Thanaletchmi is how to cut down on commuting time.

"We receive a lot of feedback that travelling (often) becomes a one-hour journey in small Singapore. And (that means) less time spent with the family... We have got to engage the people... understand their problems and find plausible solutions," she added.


New $3.7 million SG Mobility Gallery showcases future of land transport system
By Adrian Lim, Transport Correspondent, The Straits Times, 20 Sep 2018

A new gallery is offering visitors the chance to drive a bus or work as a rail technician fixing track defects - just by wearing virtual reality headsets.

They can also turn city planner for a day and try their hand at solving urban commuting problems in a computer game which keeps the score on how happy residents are.

These are some of the interactive elements to be found in the $3.7 million SG Mobility Gallery, which was officially launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.

The 1,000 sq m gallery, located at the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) Hampshire Road office, has been completely overhauled from the previous Land Transport Gallery, which opened in 2008, and was last updated in 2013.

An LTA spokesman said: "With the development of the next Land Transport Master Plan under way, it is timely to launch the SG Mobility Gallery to provide a glimpse into the future of our land transport system as we engage the public on the future of our land transport system for 2040 and beyond."

The new SG Mobility Gallery will be open on Mondays to Fridays, from 9.30am to 5pm, and admission is free.

While the previous 700 sq m gallery focused largely on the development of Singapore's land transport, the new one takes on the future of Singapore's transport systems.

The LTA's efforts to use technology to make the transport system inclusive are also on display, and visitors can try tapping a senior citizen card to get extra green man time at a traffic junction, or use an RFID (radio frequency identification) card to walk through a hands-free fare gate.

Visitors can also enjoy short films about Singapore's land transport system at a panoramic theatre.

The new gallery opens to the public today.

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