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Ideas for transformation of Kallang River area, better connectivity get widespread approval

SINGAPORE — A transformation of the Kallang River holds the potential for exciting developments, such as expanding the car-lite model to the waterfront area, and would encourage more people to commute along that corridor, said experts, interest groups and residents.

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SINGAPORE — A transformation of the Kallang River holds the potential for exciting developments, such as expanding the car-lite model to the waterfront area, and would encourage more people to commute along that corridor, said experts, interest groups and residents.

Assistant Professor Raymond Ong from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering said yesterday that these initial ideas for more car-lite waterfront areas near the river were “refreshing”.

“It’s a good initiative to treat this as a case study or a prime example of how we can do similar things for other waterfronts,” he told TODAY.

Previously, car-lite initiatives were mostly confined to certain housing estates, said Dr Ong.

But he also noted that improving the connectivity for cyclists and pedestrians along the 10km-long river would be different from building regular park connectors, such as the need to plan for infrastructure to get across the river, instead of just moving up and down the corridor.

The cycling path from Bishan to Kallang Basin would also take users along housing developments, industrial estates and a sports area.

Planners will then have to consider the different requirements of these areas, such as wider roads and more bicycle parking spaces near sporting facilities, or more greenery and fewer storage spaces for bicycles and personal mobility devices near residential areas, added Dr Ong.

Associate Professor Yu Shi-Ming, from NUS School of Design and Environment, also noted that given the mixed-use developments along the river, planners could have a problem pinning down a theme or identity for the area.

In the case of the Singapore River, people can identify the area as a place for leisure and entertainment, he noted.

Cycling group Love Cycling SG’s co-founder Woon Tai Woon also welcomed the ideas to improve the connectivity of the paths along the river.

Noting that members in the group used to joke about how the flight of 83 steps up the overhead bridge near the Pan-Island Expressway was a “standard obstacle course” for cyclists, he said the idea of having a spiral ramp would help make the journey smoother.

Mr Woon also suggested building lifts near these ramps so that the elderly can easily access such crossings.

Potong Pasir resident Kao Shu Lian, 28, said these new ideas would make the Kallang River area “more inviting and pleasant”.

The architect added that she would also be more inclined to explore parts of Singapore through these networks.

A Bishan resident, who wanted to be known only as Madam Tiaw, felt that the area would become livelier if the ideas were implemented.

“I don’t usually do sports, but I will attend more events there (in future), and go for a stroll if my children are willing to go along,” said the 63-year-old retiree. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ANGELA TENG

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