Recently, Straits Times reported that URA is conducting a study on making the Bishan-Kallang Park Connector a seamless route. If the study is successful, it could pave the way for other similar “commute” route for cyclists and runners who wish to commute other ways. besides public or private transport. I applaud the idea, as it could be a way for cyclists who are afraid of the road to commute safely to work without incident.
The Park connector network was originally conceived as a walkway/path to connect to all the parks all over Singapore. Commuting was never thought out of as it concentrated mainly on making parks easily accessible via jogging or cycling. The material of choice for the connector varied within park connectors (most are using tarmac now but there are places like Siglap park connector which uses bricks for some part of the connector) Commuting was thought of as impractical (due to the hot weather) or the government had confidence in the current transportation system and saw no need for a walk/cycling commute. Thus, there wasn’t a need for no grade crossing or relatively wide path for people to use.
The PCN idea is able to evolve further, into a park connector which has no grade crossing across roads with exits and entrances for park users, which is similar to the idea used in Amsterdam.
Special Thanks to bicycledutch.files.wordpress
This can be done via a combination of tunnels and bridges. Tests could be done to see if the grade of the bridges is gentle enough for cyclists to cross without falling off while riding. Curved bridges could also be employed if there is insufficient places to construct a straight bridges or tunnels.
While the ideas of scholars are refreshing and insightful, I hope that the government could ask ordinary people (the ones who actually use the route) to give feedback on not only the bridges used, but also the width of the pathways. What works in theory may not work as well as in practice, thus I personally feel that users must be included in the pilot study and not people who wear suit and ties who drives to work without knowing what is going on the ground.
Lastly, I hope that by building the route, I hope that the government doesn’t force all cyclists off the road and onto park connectors, while park connectors were originally conceived as an connectors of parks, there may be cyclists who choose to use the roads instead as it is faster or lack access to a park connector.