New Bidadari estate to promote car-lite culture

NG JING YNG Today Online 16 Nov 15;

SINGAPORE — Taking its green theme a step further, the soon-to-be-launched Bidadari estate will incorporate cycling routes, and bike- and car-sharing schemes to encourage a “car-lite” living environment, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) said.

Among the first 2,139 flats in Bidadari that will be launched as part of a mega sales exercise happening within these two weeks, more than half (1,229) are four-room flats. There will be 567 three-room units, 192 flats offered under the new two-room flexi scheme, as well as 151 five-room units.

These will be spread across three developments — Alkaff CourtView, Alkaff LakeView and Alkaff Vista — with blocks ranging from six to 17 storeys. They will be completed from the third quarter of 2019 to 2020. This Alkaff district — named after the well-known Arab family that opened a magnificent garden in the area — is the largest of four districts planned for Bidadari, which will eventually have 11,000 units.

During a media briefing on Friday (Nov 13), the HDB said bike-sharing schemes have been factored into planning the new estate, which is envisioned to be a “community in a garden” that will feature a 10ha park accompanied by a lake. Space has been set aside for bike-sharing facilities that will be located at convenient spots.

There will also be a 1.6km-long cycling and pedestrian track to get around the estate, to encourage residents to use their cars less. There are also plans to connect the 1.8km-long park connector in the estate to other park connectors or parks.

Despite being a former cemetery, Bidadari has been tipped by property analysts to see hot demand because of its prime location — the estate is bounded by Bartley Road, Sennett Estate, Upper Serangoon Road and Mount Vernon Road. Three MRT stations flank the area — Woodleigh, Potong Pasir and Bartley — and an underground bus interchange will be built in the estate.

Analysts said pricing, which will only be revealed during the sales exercise, will be closely watched by prospective buyers.

Chief executive of Century 21 Ku Swee Yong thinks prices could be high, given hefty investments in infrastructure such as the underground bus interchange and lush green features, on top of the central location and extensive public transport network.

Noting that the majority of the first batch of flats are three- and four-room units, Mr Ku said this suggests the HDB is targeting more first-timers and younger families. Younger families, who might be younger and childless, may have less reliance on cars as well, he said.

Transport consultant Gopinath Menon said proposing a car-lite concept for the estate from the start will help families come round to the idea more easily. “From Day One ... they see a lot of other (transport) options and don’t get too attached to a car, so they start changing their behaviour right from the beginning rather being persuaded to do so later,” he said, adding that cutting the number of parking spaces is a further step the authorities could take to nudge buyers away from using their cars.

Professor Lee Der-Horng from the National University of Singapore said the quality of alternative transport options will be key for whether Bidadari becomes a successful prototype of future car-lite housing areas. “Bidadari as a new estate opens up a brand new opportunity to really inject car-lite right from the start,” he said.

Expect to pay a premium for Bidadari's BTO flats
Janice Heng and Yeo Sam Jo My Paper AsiaOne 16 Nov 15;

THE first Housing Board (HDB) projects in Bidadari, which will be launched this month, will feature lush greenery and social spaces, in line with the area's vision of being "a community in a garden".

Residents of the 2,139 flats in the area will be able to visit a nearby market square and walk around a scenic park and lake.

A highlight of the estate is the 10ha Bidadari Park housing the new Alkaff Lake, named after the Southern Arab family which opened the former Alkaff Lake Garden in the area in 1929.

There will also be a market square that includes a food court and bus interchange.

The first three projects - Alkaff CourtView, Alkaff LakeView and Alkaff Vista - will be completed between 2019 and 2020.

They will feature thoroughfares flanked by social and commercial facilities, roof gardens, elevated walkways and landscaped lift lobbies that extend out of the block facades for scenic views.

Alkaff CourtView will also have garden courtyards and a veranda for community activities.

Bidadari's green nature extends to its "car-light" planning.

Said HDB's director of urban planning Lim Shu Ying: "Residents can cycle safely and conveniently within the estate. We hope to encourage residents to use walking and cycling as alternative modes of transport rather than taking a car."

A 1.8km park connector, for instance, will provide a direct cycling route from Punggol to Kallang through the estate.

Car and bicycle sharing systems, including special parking spaces, will also be provided.

Located in the central region of Singapore, Bidadari is bounded by Bartley Road to the north, Upper Serangoon Road to the west, Sennett Estate to the south and Mount Vernon Road to the east.

Bidadari, located near Serangoon, will have a park a tenth of its total size as well as a cycling path for its six neighbourhoods. These will serve residents of its 11,000 flats.

Bidadari Estate will be a tranquil urban oasis, where residents can relax and connect with family and friends in a garden-like setting.

Some of the plans for Bidadari Estate include six distinctive neighbourhoods, each with unique identities through the use of varied building forms that respond to the different characteristics of Bidadari; and public spaces for community gathering and events within a garden-like setting.
Tampines North is envisioned to be a new "green shoot" and extension of Tampines Town.

The vision for Tampines North is "Tampines in Bloom: Budding Communities within a Green Tapestry".

Guided by this vision, Tampines North will capitalise on its existing greenery and proximity to Tampines Town to create an attractive living environment, through five key strategies.

A "Blossoms Walk" within the Boulevard Park will create a local yet distinct identity; and a 10 ha Quarry Park which could connect to Pasir Ris Town in the future.

Under the Phase 2 master plan for Punggol New Town unveiled in Oct 2012, Punggol will feature seven distinctive eco-town districts, each with a unique identity and character.

Capitalising on its proximity to the waterfront and taking inspiration from its heritage, the Matilda district of Punggol is set to be an attractive waterfront housing district with many flats commanding waterfront views.

Planning for Matilda was inspired by the 'verandah' feature of the old Matilda House and its surrounding lush greenery.

Hence the vision of Matilda District - Verandah by the Waterfront". Some of the new plans for Punggol Matilda include new housing forms with integrated landscaped decks that provide "door-step" accessibility to the precinct amenities; and a Community Street leading to the waterfront, designed as an urban verandah with "living rooms" as rest points for residents to sit and chat.

In addition, leafy walkways will provide seamless sheltered connectivity between the residential precincts and the waterfront promenade; and there will be a vibrant waterfront shopping mall, as well as recreational amenities and parks for community events.

Spanning 93ha, approximately the size of 150 football fields, Bidadari is bounded by Bartley Road, Sennett Estate, Upper Serangoon Road and Mount Vernon Road.

The area will be eventually carved into four districts - the Alkaff District is the largest.

Despite formerly housing a cemetery, Bidadari's central location makes it one of the most anticipated sites in this month's bumper Build-To-Order (BTO) flat launch. A total of 7,000 BTO flats in Bidadari, Bukit Batok, Choa Chu Kang, Hougang, Punggol and Sengkang will be available. Another 5,000 balance units not sold in previous exercise will also be put up for sale.

Prices will only be revealed when these flats are launched, but some property experts expect a premium due to the area's city-fringe location and nearby amenities.

The projects are within a five to 10 minute walk from Woodleigh and Potong Pasir MRT stations, and close to Cedar Primary School and Cedar Girls' Secondary School.

PropNex Realty chief executive Mohamed Ismail Gafoor said the new flats might cost at least a fifth more than those in Sengkang or Punggol.

In the May BTO launch, prices for four-room flats in Punggol ranged from $284,000 to $350,000.

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