Monday, June 02, 2008

Park 'dis-connectors' are really just jogging or cycling paths: letter

"Park 'dis-connectors' not for jogging or cycling," letter by Liang Wern Kang. The Straits Times forum page, 02 Jun 08.

"I READ with interest about the recent Leisure Plan by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). Under the plan, 260km of park connectors will be added in the next 10 to 15 years.

I have always wondered what a park connector is. Let me recount what I encountered the other day. I was cycling along the Ulu Pandan Park Connector from beneath Commonwealth Avenue West towards the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE).

When I was about 50m from the AYE, the path tapered into a patch of wild grass. A sign read: 'This is the end of park connector. For your own safety, please do not go beyond this point.'

From the NParks website, the Ulu Pandan Park Connector is T-shaped and has three end points: Bukit Batok East Avenue 2 near Bukit Batok Nature Park, the AYE near Pandan Reservoir, and Commonwealth Avenue West near Buona Vista MRT station.

I can see the last stretch of path next to Pandan Gardens that goes towards Pandan Reservoir, and another stretch of path next to the International Business Park that goes towards Bukit Batok. However, they are not 'connected' to the path I was on, separated by the AYE and Pandan River.

So was I cycling in a park or a connector? If it was a park, where is the connector that connects the other two 'parks'? If it was a connector, which parks is it supposed to connect? Pandan Reservoir and Bukit Batok Nature Park?

Park connectors have been around for some time, but jogging and cycling paths remain isolated. My neighbour who works in the International Business Park told me it would take him five minutes to cycle to work if the paths were connected. Instead, he has to drive or take public transport, which takes him 15 to 30 minutes and adds to traffic congestion.

I look forward to when park connectors truly connect, even if it means underground tunnels or wheelchair-friendly bridges, as this will help the environment, our health, traffic and economy in the long run.

If there are no plans to connect all these paths, call them what they really are: jogging or cycling paths."

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