Closure of southern stretch of the Rail Corridor, 2016 Q2 to 2018/9

About half of the new 22 km Murnane pipeline is being laid under the Rail Corridor, from Bukit Timah to Tanjong Pagar. This project lays a new set of water pipes to carry water from the Murnane Service Reservoir to Marina South & Fort Canning Service Reservoir in the city, to meet future demands and replace ageing pipes [link].

The work is being done in phases and the southern stretch of the Rail Corridor is being closed as follows:

  • Closed 2016 Q4 (reopened 2018 Q4) – Jalan Anak Bukit Holland Road
  • Closed 2016 Q2 (reopened 2017 Q4) – Holland Road to Commonwealth Ave
  • Closed 2016 Q3 (reopened 2018 Q4) – Commonwealth Ave to Jalan Kilang Barat
  • Closed 2016 Q3 (reopened 2019 Q4) – Jalan Kilang Barat to former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station

PUB had discussions with the http://www.thegreencorridor.org/tag/murnane-service-reservoir/ before the announcement in June 2014.

Thanks to Jerome Lim for his many posts about this project since 2014 to keep us informed.

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Zendogs riding again, cautiously

It’s not the Olympics but a cautious 25km during Car Free Day is a nice way to restart our Zendogs rides. This ride was entirely on empty roads and PCNs. Got to shake off the flu and tackle longer distances once again in more remote parts of Singapore. Our rides have been a great way to recce field sites for teaching, research and coastal cleanups.

Zendogs  City Hall Car Free Day
Zendogs: Airani, Kenneth, Joelle, Otterman, Kevin

150 mins exercise per week? In only seven of twelve months in 2015!

I have used Runkeeper on my iPhone since 2010 and I try to activate the app each time I engage in any activity I’d record as exercise. This includes cycling (on road), mountain biking (this year was mostly Rail Corridor and Pulau Ubin), brisk walking (mostly PCNs) and hiking (field trips and coastal cleanups). If I am trapped at home by the haze, or need to build my fitness before going on a hike or long ride, I turn to the elliptical and stair-climbing.

Singapore’s Health Promotion Board recommends that individuals “aim for 150 minutes of physical activity every week” [HPB]. That works out to 600 mins/month (ignoring evenness). Having tried a little harder this year, I wondered if I spent enough time on exercise in 2015, i.e. did I at least achieve the minimum every month?

According to my Runkeeper data, I reached 600mins/month on only seven months in 2015. That’s unnerving.

Sivasothi N._s Runkeeper Fitness Report – Duration 2015

The months of my terrible first semester (Aug – Nov) see reduced activity every year, and this was badly dampened by the haze this year – and not made up with time on the elliptical. Other sub-par months were February and June – perhaps dampened by bouts of the flu. On the other hand, I managed a decent 1,000 mins of activity in January, May and July.

Now that I know how 2015 worked out, let’s see what I can do about it next year. Wish me luck!

A cycling-friendly city where no one looks like a cyclist! (UK’s Chris Boardman gawks in Utrecht)

British Cycling policy advisor Chris Boardman detours from tour de France to comment on the evolution of a cycling city in Utrecht in The Netherlands – an evolution because it didn’t happen overnight. The catalyst of the shift from a motor to bicycle-centric design of urban spaces include road fatalities especially that of children and the 1973 oil crisis.

So the people-first policy is decades years in the making. The liability laws (stronger protects weaker), giving way on turns and keeping safe by providing enough space, commuting at low speeds, the supportive laws and citizen familiarity with cycling from an early age are really some four decades in the making.

So there the bicycle is an everyday tool, for regular folk.

We need’t be wistful. I see more of this being addressed and emerging in Singapore. Admittedly, while I can cycle safely and enjoyable from Holland Village to Marina Barrage, cycling next door to Ghim Moh might kill me!

LTA says wait for it – it will come. And by their enthusiasm, I think we won’t have to wait 40 years.

Cycling from Holland Village to Marina Bay – without traffic!

Last week, I woke up a from a deep snooze and took a lovely early morning bicycle ride from Holland Village to Marina Bay. I visited the smooth-coated otter family of six there, and all without battling traffic. Wasn’t that lovely?

The male smooth-coated otter at Gardens by the Bay
(30 Jan 2014; photo by Phira Unadirekkul)

Male otter GBB sleeping

To the rescue from morning peak hour traffic were lovely park connectors, some pavements and a couple of pedestrian crossings. Sharing paths with pedestrians is pleasant as I travel at their speed when needed and never need to ring a bell at anyone – and I greet people along the way. I keep safe at traffic crossings, in case of errant vehicles, by staying alert and following traffic rules to the letter.

From Holland Village, I avoid the busy Commonwealth Road by cycling through Commonwealth Crescent through back roads and then ride the pavements down and up Queensway to reach the quiet Margaret Drive, an interesting area locked in time for now at least.

Next, the canal PCNs provide me relief from the traffic of Alexandra Road, Ganges Avenue and Havelock Road – I join Alexandra Canal Linear Park from Margaret Drive and that links to the Alexandra Park Connector. In the final reaches of the river, I am using the wide walkways at Zion Road, Robertson Quay and Clarke Quay.

Then it is a hop, skip and jump (a few options are available) to reach the barrier-free path at Gardens by the Bay and time to say hello to the otter family in the bay and the avocado milkshake at the hawker centre (Satay by the Bay).

The ride traces the Alexandra branch of the Singapore River, as you can see in this PUB watershed map:

SG Central Watershed  PUB

If you are living in the neighbourhood, do explore the Alexandra PCNs. There are interesting and developing features along this canal. The maps below link to the relevant webpages.