Sunday, March 04, 2012

[Dear LTA] "We need a ‘Mr. Cycling’ or a ‘Miss Cycling,’ a unit that actually takes responsibility" - Paul Barter in Wall Street Journal blog

Once again, Paul (who blogs here in Cycling in Singapore as well, makes the call for LTA to investigate the problem with some seriousness. How long will LTA wait?

NParks has surged ahead with their park connector network, which they are able to control in the area within their jurisdiction. Some of the connectors, though, are obstacle courses due to what seems to be a lack of support from other agencies.

LTA does have a National Cycling Plan restricted to cycling paths in seven HDB towns. It's time to take a more holistic approach to the issue. And they can call upon many in the community to help out.

"Cycling in Singapore: An Uphill Battle?" By Matthew Allen. Driver Street (The Wall Street Journal blog), 03 Feb 2012. [pdf]

"... cycling, at least in theory, should be more popular. The local public transport network has lost its luster after a series of calamitous train breakdowns late last year, and buying a car costs a small fortune due to high ownership levies in the city-state. On top of that, taxi fares have just been hiked.

One reason for the dearth of cyclists is that Singapore’s hot and humid climate makes pedaling a sweaty pursuit. Cyclists also complain of a lack of secure parking spaces, high rates of bicycle theft and restrictions on taking foldable bikes onto buses and trains.

However, proponents of cycling point to another set of problems they believe can and should be addressed: The overall lack of infrastructure for cyclists on Singapore’s roads, and the bad attitudes of other road users, many of whom don’t acknowledge cyclists’ right to be there in the first place."
"Paul Barter, an assistant professor teaching infrastructure and transport policy at the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, says there seems to be a kind of mantra among the authorities, when defending a lack of cycling infrastructure, that Singapore is dense and short of space, but that authorities may not have actually looked into it in detail.

“If they do that, and they look around the world where cities have squeezed in bicycle infrastructure, they’ll probably find that Singapore’s road reserves are rather generous by world standards and it’s a design problem (installing cycling infrastructure) but it’s by no means impossible.”

In an unpublished paper in 2008 [see link here], Barter wrote that “bicycles appear to have been ignored in the design of Singapore’s roads” and that “there has been relatively little official encouragement of bicycle use in Singapore.” He told the Wall Street Journal that he still largely holds those views, and says a major step towards countering the problem would be the appointment of a cycling czar, to oversee investment in cycling infrastructure.

“Somebody needs to take responsibility. We need a ‘Mr. Cycling’ or a ‘Miss Cycling,’ a unit that actually takes responsibility,” he says."
Read on...

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