Thursday, May 27, 2010

(KTM) Rails to Trails?

Tom Keeble asks hopefully,

"So with the transfer of the KTM line to Singapore, what do you think are the chances of getting the line turned into a massive park connector from Woodlands to Tanjong Pagar?" Like Rails to Trails in the US -

He is referring the ground-breaking news on the 24th of May 2010:

"KTMB station in Tanjong Pagar to relocate to Woodlands by July 2011," by S Ramesh. Channel News Asia, 24 May 2010. [pdf]

SINGAPORE: Singapore and Malaysia capped a historic day in relations on Monday with agreement on a long outstanding bilateral issue.

After 20 years, both sides have arrived at a solution on the Malayan Railway Land in Singapore. The leaders of the two countries agreed to move the station at the heart of the city centre in Tanjong Pagar to Woodlands Train checkpoint, near the border by the 1 July 2011.

The smiles said it all - of a retreat that has been fruitful with significant moves. The centrepiece must surely be the issue of the railway land and lines, spelt out in the Points of Agreement (POA) signed in 1990.

Read the rest of the article here.

For the joint statement by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak at the Singapore-Malaysia Leaders' Retreat, click here.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Evelyn Toh, RIP 2010

"Cyclist dies after being hit by van," by Melissa Pang. The Straits Times, 16 May 2010. Man held over death; fatal accident comes two months after another cycling death

Ms Toh posing with her bicycle in this photo, which was taken by her husband Hoi Seng just before she went on her ill-fated ride last Thursday. - Photos courtesy of the family of Evelyn Toh
It was a photo taken before she went on her usual cycling routine, and the last that would ever be taken of her.

Last Thursday, Ms Evelyn Toh, 39, became the latest member of the cycling community to die in a traffic accident.

Her husband, who would give his name only as Hoi Seng, said he snapped the photo on the day of the accident. He said his wife, whom he wed 11 years ago, liked to be photographed in her sports gear.

Her death follows that of Mr Benjamin Mok, 35, who died two months ago after he was hit by a suspected drunk driver. A 62-year-old general practitioner was arrested in the case.

Hoi Seng, 40, a manager, said his wife had at least 15 years of riding experience. They have no children.

'When the police called, I did not believe that the accident was possible. She was a very safe and experienced cyclist.'

He knows little about the accident except that his wife was hit from behind by a van while on her usual cycling route along Sembawang Road.

The housewife, an avid sportswoman who participated in up to seven marathons and triathlons a year, was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital where she succumbed to serious injuries.

Chinese-language newspaper Lianhe Wanbao reported last Friday that a 53-year-old man had been arrested for causing death by a rash act.

Ms Toh is remembered by Singapore Armed Forces technician Ayub Hasbi, 46, for her safety-conscious ways.

Saying he knew the former Iron Man participant through a weekend cycling group, he added that she would 'warn us about potholes, traffic lights and cars'.

Mr Ayub, who has more than 20 years of cycling experience, thinks more needs to be done to improve safety for the cycling community.

Last year, 17 cyclists and pillion riders died on the road, down from 22 in 2008.

After Mr Mok's death two months ago, cycling groups stepped up efforts to make roads safer for cyclists.

The Straits Times reported last month that Safe Cycling Taskforce president Steven Lim was looking to increase the number of road signs that warn motorists of the presence of cyclists.

There are currently at least 119 'Cyclists Ahead' signs.

Mr Ayub, however, questions the usefulness of these signs.

'It is giving an instruction, but whether motorists follow it is another matter. Even if the signs are big, they won't work if motorists do not show regard for them.'

But former national triathlete Jeanette Wang thinks 'a sign is better than no sign' and that they can be effective.

'Out of 10 signs, motorists will see at least one, and will know to look out for cyclists.'

Ms Wang, 28, an associate editor at Shape magazine, admits that cycling continues to be a dangerous experience for her.

'There's always a close call when I'm on the road. I have to jam-brake every time I ride because cars just don't notice me, even though I have front and back lights, and reflector strips to make myself more visible.'

Mr Robert Choy, 50, who has been cycling for 30 years, said motorists and cyclists both have a role to play in working towards a common understanding.

'Singapore drivers don't have the patience for cyclists. They also don't anticipate how fast a bicycle can go and think they can beat all cyclists,' said the self-employed man.

According to him, serious recreational cyclists can reach speeds of up to 70kmh when going down a slope. Ms Wang estimated that these cyclists travel at 35kmh on average.

Hoi Seng and his family hope Ms Toh's death will help raise awareness of the importance of road safety for cyclists.

Said his elder sister, who declined to be named: 'It's important to educate the public...If other road users were more careful and considerate, lives would not be wasted.'

Hoi Seng is unsure if he will ever cycle again.

'Evelyn was my inspiration. We'd look out for each other on the roads when we cycled,' he said.

'But I know she would want me to continue. She had always encouraged me to lead a healthy lifestyle.'

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ride of Silence Singapore, Sat 22 May 2010: 9am, from Merlion Park

The Ride of Silence
"Tonight we number many but ride as one
In honor of those not with us, friends, mothers, fathers, sisters, sons
With helmets on tight and heads down low,
We ride in silence, cautious and slow
The wheels start spinning in the lead pack
But tonight we ride and no one attacks
The dark sunglasses cover our tears
Remembering those we held so dear
Tonight’s ride is to make others aware
The road is there for all to share
To those not with us or by our side,
May God be your partner on your final ride"
- Mugai

"Join cyclists worldwide in a silent slow-paced ride (maximum 20 kmh) in honor of those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways."

Ride of Silence

The Ride of Silence Singapore
will set off on Saturday 22 May 2010: from Merlion Park. Three routes are planned this year (north, east and west; see

The Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan is the Guest Of Honour and will ride with ROS.

To cycle in support with the group, register at

The West Route has the support of Senja-Cashew Community Centre, who are hosting the West End Point where there will be booths set up by NParks, Traffic Police and LTA about cycling safety.

The first Ride of Silence Singapore was held in 2009 at night - see "impressions from a car window. "

Friday, May 07, 2010

"Promote the use of environmentally friendly transport"

Focus group on sustainability and identity for Concept Plan Review 2011 - Summary of Preliminary recommendations (06 May 2010)


"1(b) Promote the use of environmentally friendly transport:
More people should take public transport, walk or cycle, rather than use private transport. To encourage more people to use public transport, fares should be reduced and public transport should be made more convenient, frequent and comfortable. For example, multi-modal season passes can be introduced to allow for unlimited travel to be made across different transport modes within a designated time period, say a day, and economical shuttle services to MRT/LRT stations can be provided. Car parking policies should be reviewed to discourage the use of private transport, for example by reducing the number of car parking lots or by charging higher car parking fees in the city and town centres.

We should encourage cycling and walking by making it safer and more comfortable to do so. A dedicated bicycle lane network is necessary, for example like those found in other cities such as Osaka, Amsterdam and Sydney. We should have more parking facilities for bicycles which are also more secure and space efficient. Changing facilities should also be introduced for cyclists. Walking connections could be shaded and protected from direct sun and rain."

Read the entire document and provide feedback at

CP2011 Public Forum Registration

'A dedicated bicycle lane network is necessary' (Focus Group, URA Concept Plan 2011 Review)

Lanes, lots for cyclists," by Ong Dai Lin. Today, 07 May 2010. And fewer car park spots among URA focus group's recommendations.
"Some of their suggestions echoed popular calls that have been rejected time and again by the Government; other proposals may be downright unpopular, admitted the focus group appointed by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) to review its Concept Plan 2011.

Either way, green transport will have a key role in building a sustainable city, said the 30-member group.

For one, a dedicated bicycle lane network is necessary, and Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, co-chair of the group and director of the Institute of Policy Studies, hopes the Government will act on the suggestion even though this has been raised unsuccessfully in the past.

There should also be more and better secured parking facilities for bicycles, as well as changing facilities for cyclists.

Private transport, on the other hand, should be discouraged by reducing the number of car parking lots or by charging higher parking fees in the city and town centres.

Mr Lee Tzu Yang, the group co-chair and chairman of Shell Companies in Singapore, told reporters the measures may be unpopular but were targeted ways to limit traffic flow into certain areas.

He said: "Everybody supports the use of public transport; they just want somebody else to use the public transport."

The group said that lower public transport fares as well as more convenient, comfortable and frequent buses and trains would make a difference. For example, season passes for unlimited travel across different transport modes can be introduced, and economical shuttle services to MRT or LRT stations can be provided.

The carrot-and-stick approach should also apply to waste reduction and recycling, recommended the group - one of two appointed in January to discuss issues in the URA's Concept Plan, which maps out the long-term direction for land use and transportation in Singapore.

Higher waste-disposal fees - tied to the amount of trash collected from each household - can help reduce wastage, for example, while recycling facilities could be located at public transport nodes with rebates on public transport fares to encourage recycling.

This was the first time the group, which is looking into sustainability and identity, was presenting its draft recommendations. Six members, including the co-chairs, met 200 people in a forum as part of URA's overall public consultation exercise.

One member of the public, Mr Jeffrey Chong, asked if the panel - which included Nature Society president Shawn Lum, South West Community Development Council member Tiew Chee Meng and National University Singapore geography department chief Shirlena Huang - had considered introducing urban farming.

Mr Tiew said land scarcity in Singapore was an obstacle, and a green spirit must first be inculcated in Singaporeans.

After seeking the public's feedback, the focus group will fine-tune its recommendations before submitting its final report to URA, which reviews its Concept Plan once every 10 years. The current review is scheduled to be completed next year.

Meanwhile, the other focus group looking into quality of life and ageing will present its recommendations on Monday.

The public can give their feedback on yesterday's preliminary recommendations at"