Thursday, March 27, 2008

Call to Urban Planners - heed demand for bicycle lanes

Letter from Patricia Chee, Bukit Timah
Today, 19 Mar 2008

"I refer to "The politics of sidewalks" (March 15-16). There seems to be growing demand for bicycle lanes in Singapore, yet urban planners do not seem to be heeding these calls.

Cycling offers several benefits. It can help ease our transportation woes and help reduce global warming and improve our health. It will also help us save money by countering the effects of rising oil prices.

Kudos to Members of Parliament Teo Ser Luck and Irene Ng for raising this issue recently in Parliament.

I think our urban planners should walk around more often. They could, for example, go to Bedok MRT station, and see for themselves, the large numbers of bicycles chained to any available guard rail and tree. They should also ride a bicycle along the East Coast Park and feel the wind blowing in their faces. This is far more enjoyable than being squeezed with other commuters in air-conditioned "comfort".

Some major cities are already pushing bicycles as an alternative means of transport. Paris, Barcelona, Geneva, Stockholm, Oslo and Vienna offer bicycles for rent as they try to reduce the number of cars in big cities, improve air quality and provide a fun alternative to trains.

In Paris and Barcelona thousands have bought low-cost annual passes to rent bicycles from hundreds of stations located throughout the cities. Organisers of the 2012 London Olympics are considering a ban on the use of cars at all the Games' major venues, meaning spectators would have to walk, cycle or use public transport.

Singapore should consider these creative approaches to solving traffic congestion instead of tweaking ERPs and COEs."

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