More than 40km of cycling paths will be built in five towns over the next five years as part of efforts to expand the cycling infrastructure here, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced. Tenders to build the paths - to be located in Woodlands, Toa Payoh, Choa Chu Kang, Geylang and Queenstown - will be called later in the year, the authority added. The 7km of cycling paths in Toa Payoh will be a first for the town, Singapore's second-oldest housing estate and the first built by HDB. Meanwhile, Woodlands will see 20km added to its current 4km of cycling paths and more than 8km of park connectors. This will make the cycling network for the northern town among the largest here. The new paths will also connect to key amenities as well as four MRT stations - Marsiling, Woodlands and Admiralty MRT stations on the North-South Line, and the Woodlands South station on the Thomson-East Coast Line which will open by the end of this year. An additional 12km of cycling paths will be a major boost to the existing half-kilometre stretch in Choa Chu Kang.
Underground plans for three districts
District-level underground plans, released for the first time under the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) Draft Master Plan, will help the nation build deeper and wider, freeing up more surface land for people-centric uses. Three-dimensional subterranean maps of Marina Bay, Jurong Innovation District and Punggol Digital District were rolled out at the launch of the Draft Master Plan at the URA Centre in Maxwell Road. The underground plans are part of a strategy to create spaces for the future as well as build capacity for growth. Some other highlights from the plan, which may be gazetted later this year: one-stop neighbourhood hubs, greater southern waterfront, transforming paya lebar air base.
Development of the Greater Southern Waterfront will begin in five to ten years with certain precincts, kicking off with Pasir Panjang Power District and the site of the existing Keppel Club. Under the Draft Master Plan 2019, the Greater Southern Waterfront - which stretches across the southern coastline from Pasir Panjang to Marina East - will total 2,000 hectares (ha) and is envisaged to be a gateway for live, work and play. About 1,000 ha of land from the 2,000 ha site will be freed up for development after the City Terminals and Pasir Panjang Terminal are shifted to Tuas. Mount Faber has also been earmarked as one of the precincts that will be developed within the next five to ten years as part of the Greater Southern Waterfront. Pasir Panjang Power District will be "given a new lease of life as a lifestyle and heritage destination," said the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA, adding that agencies are already looking at potential ways to reuse the former power station buildings and open up the grounds for public access. URA and the Singapore Land Authority will be initiating a competition next month to reach out to the public for potential ideas for the precinct.
Meanwhile, the site that is occupied by the Keppel Club will be redeveloped into a new residential precinct by the waterfront when the current lease expires in 2021. The site is near both Telok Blangah and Labrador Park MRT stations. Transport connectivity for residents in the adjoining areas is expected to improve as they reduce travelling time by going through the future town instead of around it. Meanwhile, Huttons Asia head of research, Lee Sze Teck, pointed out that the government is continuing to decentralise jobs from the central areas as it outlined more plans for Paya Lebar, Changi, Woodlands Regional Centre and Punggol Digital District under the Draft Master Plan 2019.
In 15 years' time, nine in 10 Singaporeans will be just a 10-minute walk away from a park. This enhanced City in a Garden vision was unveiled in the Draft Master Plan, which shows 1,000ha more parks and park connectors across the island. The expansion is an almost 13 per cent increase over the existing 7,800ha. This is part of a "conscious and deliberate effort" to protect natural spaces and increase ecological resilience, said Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong at the launch of the Draft Master Plan.
New CBD options offer flexibility in medium to long-term
City Developments Limited (CDL) and Hong Leong Holdings are among the property players that could benefit from the government's push to inject greater vibrancy into the central business district (CBD). The CBD Incentive Scheme, which offers a higher gross plot ratio to pave the way for older CBD office buildings to be converted into hotels, homes or mixed-used projects, makes for greater flexibility in the medium to long term, but owners can choose not to redevelop their existing properties in the near term amid headwinds, analysts say. The scheme is targeted at office buildings in certain parts of the CBD - Anson, Cecil Street, Shenton Way, Robinson Road and Tanjong Pagar. Buildings under 20 years old or which have gone through significant asset enhancements from the last TOP date are excluded from the scheme. Site area is also a qualifying criterion. The allowable increase in plot ratios is capped at 25 per cent for most proposed land uses and at 30 per cent for residential with commercial use in the first storey in the Anson and Cecil Street areas.