URA seeks feedback on study to turn Kallang Park Connector into seamless cycling route

Liyana Othman Channel NewsAsia 11 Apr 17;

SINGAPORE: The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has concluded a study on improving connectivity along the Kallang River and is seeking public feedback on its recommendations, it said on Tuesday (Apr 11).

Ideas were sought in 2015 to see if the 10km Kallang Park Connector, which links Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and Kallang Riverside Park, can be improved so that it can serve as a seamless cycling route.

Currently, there are certain points along the route where cyclists have to dismount, make long detours or carry their bicycles along overhead bridges.

Presenting details of the study, URA said findings include upgrading two existing underpasses under the Central Expressway (CTE) and at Geylang Road.

For example, the CTE underpass, which is now dimly lit and with a low height clearance, will be deepened and widened. It will also feature garden-like settings and public seating, turning it into a gathering space for the community, the authority said.

The study also suggested building four new underpasses at Kallang Bahru Road, Upper Boon Keng Road and Sims Avenue to make travel faster and more seamless.

In areas where underpasses are not feasible, such as along Serangoon and Bendemeer roads, the study proposes adding traffic junctions so that pedestrians and cyclists do not have to walk a distance to climb existing overhead bridges.

The most challenging crossing for cyclists, however, is the overhead bridge over the 16-lane Pan Island Expressway (PIE). Currently, cyclists have to carry their bicycles up and down flights of stairs on the bridge, then cycle a short distance on narrow sidewalks in a housing estate before rejoining the park connector.

That could soon change with the URA study, which noted that one solution is to create an elevated spiral crossing ending at an empty plot of land along the river which has the potential to be transformed into a park. The proposed bridge also has a gradual incline, making it wheelchair-friendly.

There are also plans to enhance that length of the river, by widening the now narrow sidewalk and putting in a boardwalk.

Last month, URA raised five broad ideas on the rejuvenation of the Kallang River as part of a preliminary conceptual plan for the rejuvenation of the Kallang River and announced that it would be seeking public feedback at an exhibition called A River Runs Through It.

The exhibition runs at The URA Centre Atrium from Mar 29 to May 2, 9am to 6pm, Mondays to Fridays.

URA is now seeking feedback on the recommendations raised in the study at the same exhibition and will refine the proposals after the exhibition ends.

- CNA/mz

Kallang River area set to be walking, cycling haven
ALFRED CHUA Today Online 12 Apr 17;

SINGAPORE — Connectivity and access for pedestrians and cyclists will be enhanced at several spots along the Kallang River, as part of a makeover of the 14km-long water body announced last month.

Providing more details on the rejuvenation plans yesterday, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said at a media briefing that it has identified seven locations where accessibility will be improved, but is currently hindered by major roads — the Central Expressway (CTE), the Pan Island Expressway (PIE), Serangoon Road, Bendemeer Road, Kallang Bahru, Boon Keng Road and Sims Avenue.

At the Sims Avenue area near Kallang MRT Station, for example, a new underpass will be built to shorten the time taken to travel across the road and act as a connector between Kallang MRT and the Singapore Sports Hub. With traffic crossing at Geylang Lorong 1, which is in the vicinity, getting crowded especially when events are held at the Sports Hub, the proposed underpass will also provide an alternative route for pedestrians and cyclists.

A spiral bridge spanning across the PIE will also be constructed, where parks and other related amenities could be built at the foot of the crossing which links to Mar Thoma Road.

The PIE project would be the most challenging because of the expressway — spanning 16 lanes — that divides the river, said URA executive architect Sean Tan. Currently, pedestrians and cyclists need to climb up an overhead bridge with more than 130 steps. When completed, the new bridge will allow those with mobility issues, including wheelchair users, to make the journey across.

In all, two underpasses — running under the Central Expressway (CTE) and Geylang Road — will be enhanced, while three new ones will be built at Sims Avenue, Kallang Bahru, and Upper Boon Keng Road.

Lighting will be improved in the CTE underpass, which links Toa Payoh Lorong 8 and Potong Pasir Avenue 1. The underpass, which has a height clearance of about 2m, will also be widened and deepened to provide more headroom for cyclists.

Seating areas and garden-like features, for example, could also be built. To supplement the pedestrian crossing currently in place, the new Kallang Bahru underpass will be constructed near Kallang Bahru Ville housing estate, and provide a link to the vicinity of Kallang Distripark. At Upper Boon Keng Road, the new underground link will be constructed between the areas near Block 12 Upper Boon Keng Road and Geylang Lorong 1.

Instead of underpasses, signalised pedestrian crossings will be up at Bendemeer Road and Serangoon Road. This was because there are electrical cables, among other things, running under the roads, which would require any underground links to be built deeper down, said the URA.

The initiatives to bring about a “long and continuous park experience” will not only create an “attractive environment” for people to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, they will also connect communities, Mr Tan said.

The URA had started looking into improving connectivity along Kallang River since 2014. A year later, it invited consultants to propose design and technical solutions.

The URA is seeking public feedback on the facelift for Kallang River, with an exhibition, A River Runs Through It, held at the URA centre from March 29 to May 2.