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New hawker centre, leisure options for residents at new Punggol district

SINGAPORE — Tens of thousands of Punggol residents can expect to enjoy new dining, leisure and retail spots when the Punggol Digital District in the town’s north comes up in stages from 2023.

The Punggol Digital District will also boast a network of facilities to support more environmentally friendly commuting options, such as cycling and riding in autonomous vehicles. Photo: JTC

The Punggol Digital District will also boast a network of facilities to support more environmentally friendly commuting options, such as cycling and riding in autonomous vehicles. Photo: JTC

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SINGAPORE — Tens of thousands of Punggol residents can expect to enjoy new dining, leisure and retail spots when the Punggol Digital District in the town’s north comes up in stages from 2023.

This includes a new hawker centre equipped with electronic payment technology and an automated tray return system.

The existing Punggol Road will be turned into a pedestrian street and heritage trail connecting Punggol Waterway Park to the Punggol Promenade Park Connector.

The 1.3km “green link” will also connect the Punggol Waterway to the Punggol Digital District and the upcoming residential district at Punggol Point.

Meanwhile, all the trees along Punggol Road will be conserved to preserve the area’s topography and character, said Mr David Tan, assistant chief executive for JTC’s development group. JTC, the national industrial-estate developer, is the master developer for the Punggol Digital District.

Currently, Punggol has nearly 50,000 housing units. More residents are expected to benefit from the new digital district as the town undergoes further development in the next few years, a JTC spokesperson told TODAY.

Other amenities in the works include new childcare centres, which will be located near the heritage trail, allowing children to explore outdoor gardens.

An 800m pedestrian street, called the Campus Boulevard, will also connect the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) campus and JTC’s business park, featuring retail and dining offerings, among other things.

The town will also have various public-transport options. These include the new Punggol Coast MRT Station along the North-East Line extension, which is expected to be completed by 2023, and a bus interchange below the business park.

The Punggol Digital District will also boast a network of facilities to support more environmentally friendly commuting options, such as cycling and riding in autonomous vehicles, in line with Singapore’s ambition of going car-lite. For example, there will be secured storage racks, showers and lockers.

New-fangled sensor technologies could also be deployed in the district, including environmental sensors that monitor air quality and noise.

Other possible technologies that could be deployed include cameras that detect, classify and count personal mobility devices — such as hoverboards and electric scooters — in public spaces like cycling paths and walkways.

“The district will be a connected, walkable and personal mobility device-friendly environment so that the community could potentially take an autonomous vehicle, walk, cycle or even scoot to their daily destinations,” said the agencies behind the district.

When completed, the district will be a boon to the younger generation in Punggol town, residents told TODAY on Sunday (Jan 21) at Waterway Point mall, where the district’s masterplan was unveiled.

Mr Alvin Wee, 30, who moved into Punggol in 2016, has a one-year-old son. Having the SIT at their doorstep will be convenient if his child decides to enrol in a programme there in future, he said.

Mr Wee, an IT project manager in a bank, said the new district could also benefit him if major firms set up operations there. “I’ll get to work easily and save time travelling,” he explained.

With an array of amenities in the offing, architect Hooi Choong Khuan, 40, said residents will need to venture out of Punggol less.

“We can travel less and find a job here in the future when there are opportunities,” he said. “We don’t need to travel all the way into the city where there is traffic congestion.”

Mr Hooi also welcomed the upcoming leisure and dining options, noting that Punggol presently lacks enough such places for families to hang out.

Madam Claire Yap, 36, said her three-year-old daughter could not land a spot in a childcare centre in Punggol. Instead, she and her husband Bryce Low, 37, had to settle for a childcare centre in Tampines.

“With the new childcare facilities, it will definitely benefit those with younger children,” said the administrative manager.

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