Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"...re-looking the humble bicycle as something for everyone." - Transport Minister Raymond Lim

"Sustainable if costs don’t tip the scales." Today Online, 29 Jul 2008. [WS Link]

"IN A picture-perfect Singapore, environmentally speaking, people would cycle not just to the nearest MRT station but between towns; all homes would use energy-saving appliances; buildings would be "green" and solar panels would power our lives.

...what kind of green initiatives would be worth going the distance for?

This is what the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Sustainable Development wants Singaporeans to think about and give their views on, with its launch of www.sustainablesingapore.gov.sg yesterday.

Sustainable Singapore

"One achievable goal, said Mr Lim, is re-looking the humble bicycle as something for everyone. To promote bicycles as a mode of transport between towns, more parking facilities could be added at MRT stations. “It’s a shift in the way we look at cycling,” he said."

See also: "Wanted: Public's ideas for a greener Singapore," by Tania Tan. The Straits Times, 29 Jul 2008.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"Enjoying Pulau Ubin on a bicycle"

Pedal Ubin Guides N. Sivasothi and Tan Kai-Xin have posted a simple webpage about preparing for a leisure cycling trip at Pulau Ubin. It's work in progress but answers basic queries like "where to go?" "what to see" and "how long will it take?"

See snipurl.com/rideubin

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Park Connector Networks - Singeo provides Google Maps/Earth derivations

In my last post highlighting NParks new page for the Park Connector Networks, most savvy-users would have realised the lack of ability to manipulate manipulation teh maps significantly nor any linkage to Google Maps and the litany of advantages that provides including the ability to download data to Google Earth.

So I asked for help and SinGeo poked around and found the coordinates for the entire in the page source. Its something I have been using for park locations (see Habitatnews). In this case he grabbed the polylines and plotted them on both Google Maps and Google Earth - go fetch like I did. It will help with your own maps.

Do note that these park connector polylines were not new plots but a downlaod from NParks. This means its approximate for the most part. Do help to refine them if you can.

http___www.singeo.com.sg_singeo_kmz_pcn.kml - Google Maps

Friday, July 04, 2008

Park Connector Network - NParks webpage

The NParks webpage was revamped recently and the park connectors are found under the Visitor's Guide here.

It lacks a satellite view but at least its up there as a reference. In January, Singeo provided NParks map overlays on Google Earth which you can download. So who's is going to do the honours of plotting them all on Google Earth proper? Let me know!

Letter to Today: "what are we waiting for?"

Pedal Power

Letter from Kelvin Kwan Chee Hong. Today, 04 Jul 2008.

"NO ONE can dispute that the humble bicycle has a role in our transport system, both now and in the future. Thus, I would like to appeal to the Land Transport Authority and the Traffic Police to come up with clear strategies and rules to support this form of transportation, considering the energy crisis and the go-green movement.

For a start, a code for all cyclists using our roads should be immediately made available in booklet form and on the Internet. This would help everyone understand what is required and the penalties they would face, should they flout the laws of the road. Police officers should be seen actively enforcing the rules to inculcate discipline, and over time, achieve high conformance and order.

Surely it goes against existing traffic rules for cyclists to ride on pedestrian paths, but I have noticed that the police generally close one eye where these offenders are concerned. This only emboldens the cyclists, lulling them into believing that they have the right of way. As a result, they speed, ring their bells impatiently at senior citizens and brush against mothers with babies, or pedestrians carrying heavy bags. To make matters worse, these cyclists come from all directions, disregarding basic courtesy.

More and safer parking facilities for bicycles should be provided to stop indiscriminate parking and theft of parts. Where possible, bicycle lanes should be provided and schools should conduct cycling classes to promote good riding habits.

So, what are we waiting for?"

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Today: "Cycling on footpaths: Tampines extends trial"

"Cycling on footpaths: Tampines extends trial," by Neo Chai Chin. Today, 02 Jul 2008. Efforts to be stepped up to educate foreign workers, students on safe cycling.

THEY ride their bicycles at high speeds on footpaths, endangering and annoying the pedestrians in Tampines.

For this and other unsavoury cycling habits, foreign workers and schoolchildren are two groups that the town's cycling wardens will be focusing on in their safety education programme over the coming months.

Tampines' Cycling on Footways year-long trial, which ended on May 31, will be restarted for another six months — from Aug 1 to Jan 31 next year, Mr Mah Bow Tan, adviser to Tampines GrassrootsOrganisations (TGO), said yesterday.

While education efforts for the general public will be stepped up during the extension of the trial, the committee received "more feedback, more complaints about the two groups", said Mr Mah, who is also Minister for National Development.

Road safety videos will be produced in English, Bengali, Thai and Mandarin for the foreign workers to be distributed to their dormitories. The videos will be screened during the workers' rest and meal times, said Superintendent Lee Chee Chiew, deputy commander of the Traffic Police.

For the students, exhibitions and talks will be held at all primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in Tampines.

The videos and talks will emphasise safe cycling habits.

Mr Mah stressed the need to have proper facilities, public education aswell as enforcement in order for cyclingon footpaths to be feasible.

To cater to the growing number of cyclists, tenders have been issued for the construction of 2.3km of bicycle tracks and $1 million has been set aside for this pilot phase of the project, said Tampines Member of Parliament Ong Kian Min. Some footpaths will also be widened so that they can accommodate both pedestrians and cyclists.

Tampines' chief cycling warden and grassroots leader Steven Yeo said he hoped to recruit 90 more volunteers to add to the current group of 190 wardens to help spread the message of safe cycling.

On the enforcement front, Supt Lee said cyclists who ride in a disorderly manner can be fined $20 under Rule 10 of the Road Traffic (Bicycles) Rule, while those who ride in a rash or negligent manner endangering human life or causing injury can be jailed up to a year and/or fined$5,000 under the Penal Code.

The Cycling on Footways trial is a tripartite effort by the TGO, Singapore Police Force and the Land Transport Authority to study whether it is feasible for cyclists to share footpaths with pedestrians.

In a survey of 565 residents conducted by TSM consultancy from May to November last year, 57 per cent of non-cyclists and 73 per cent of cyclists supported the continuation of the scheme.

With fuel prices soaring, many Tampines residents welcomed the trial extension, saying that cycling would be a cheap mode of transport.

"Of course, it would be better if we could have more cycling tracks. They could even be used by people with baby prams," said Tampines Street 22 resident Mr Rahim, 44, who cycles to the market and hawker centre twice a week.