Hi everyone, it’s been a long time since we wrote a blog entry that touched a number of interest topics. We have hit some milestones – more people take up cycling for various reasons – for commuting, for recreation and most importantly for most – improving one’s health. There has been in an increased in the level of focus internationally and locally at various levels and we thought we share some of the key ones that would interest you. I heard on the radio that our earth temperature has risen 2°C which is a cause for concern as images suggest that the ice cap that reflect the Sun’s UV and heat is shrinking due to Co2 and temperature rise.
Facilitating more cycling opportunities can reduce carbon footprint which is the number reasons the world is warming up. From WWF – As global warming tightens its grip, the effects are being felt from the highest mountain peaks to the depths of the oceans. In just the last few years there are numerous examples of how this is affecting people and nature all over the world.
• Global warming is melting glaciers in every region of the world, putting millions of people at risk from floods, droughts and lack of drinking water.
• Arctic sea ice reached its second lowest recorded level during the melt season of 2008. The lowest level, since satellites measurements began in 1979, was 2007.
• 2003, Scotland’s hottest year on record, saw hundreds of adult salmon die in Scotland’s famous fisheries, as rivers became too warm for salmon to be able to extract enough oxygen from the water.
• Coral reefs around the world have been severely damaged by unusually warm ocean temperatures. The Caribbean saw its warmest ever ocean temperatures in 2005, combined with the worst coral bleaching ever. At the current rate of degradation, the entire Great Barrier Reef could be dead within a human lifetime.
• Cities like Athens, Chicago, Milan, New Delhi and Paris have sweltered under heatwaves. The 2003 summer heatwave in Europe killed 14,800 people in France alone, according to official figures released in September 2003. The French National Institute for Health and Medical Research said that the death rate was on average 60% higher than usual.
• Summer temperatures in European capitals have increased by up to 2°C over the last 30 years, a WWF report showed.
• Rising sea levels threaten entire nations on low-lying islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
On the local front, the CLC (Centre for Liveable Cities, Singapore) have a 55 page document on how we can make Singapore a more liveable city and cycling is a big part of this movement as we learn from the best in the world . The CLC has published a very comprehensive document,
The report brings together best practices in active mobility from cities around the world including Amsterdam, New York, Seoul, Copenhagen and Taipei, but specifically addresses the challenges which Singapore faces as a tropical city. The result is a report whose findings will inform future active mobility programs in Singapore, and will act as valuable guidance. Some extracts from the report:
While many of the more liveable cities with high active mobility today are in temperate regions, tropical climates can easily support active travel in tropical cities too. Leading walking and cycling cities such as Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, and Copenhagen in Denmark had concerns that their cold climates could not support active transport modes when promotion efforts for active mobility were first initiated, but climate was found to be neither a “deal-breaker” nor a definite “clincher”. Singapore, a high-density city in the tropics, is a potential location for the demonstration of forward-looking ideas for walkable and bikeable environments in tropical climes. This can be achieved through appropriate design measures to address the heat and humidity, and providing adequate end-of-trip amenities such as showers and drop-and-go laundries.
On the local front, plenty of active discussions but the MND has taken a lead to understand and make changes that benefits all pedestrians and users of our infrastructure. In a blog entry by National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan; 4-wheels-good-2-wheels-and-2-feet-even-better, he shares his thoughts:
But we are not perfect. In fact, some cities, like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, have raised active mobility to a higher level. Walking and cycling as modes of transport have been honed to be the normal way of life. In these cities, they make up more than half of the modes of transport… Bench-marked against them, we are way behind. Cycling merely makes up 1-2% of our transport modes here. We must now go beyond cycling for recreation. We want it to be a viable transport option for short trips to the supermarket, coffee shop, hawker centre or the nearest MRT station. To do so, we must make such trips safe and pleasant.
Thanks Minister Khaw for encouraging the authorities under your care.
Added on 6 Nov – More comments from MPs –
Dr Faishal’s comments and reply : http://www.mot.gov.sg/News-Centre/News/2014/Oral-Reply-By-Associate-Professor-Muhammad-Faishal-Ibrahim,-Parliamentary-Secretary-For-Health-And-Transport-On-Developing-A-National-Integrated-Cycling-Strategy-And-Policy-Framework/
Not to mention the Green Corridor – In The Green Corridor proposal, NSS refers to the Railway Lands as several plots of land, at Tanjong Pagar, Kranji, Woodlands and Bukit Timah, the two main lines of track, the Woodlands – Tanjong Pagar and Jurong lines and other small disconnected stretches. The combined area for the Railway Land is 173.7 hectares, almost three times the size of the Botanical Gardens (63.7 hectares), and 0.24% the land mass of Singapore.
Its great that we are preserving very much its form, a stretch of green “lung” within our city state that has immense potential to brighten up our lives recreationally and even encourage cycling as a viable mode of transport to connect dwellers in the Kranji Woodlands area to the City. Go support, share and enjoy the corridor.
Several folding bike brands have started to work with train operators and big events but Tern and Dahon lead the way here :
Tern Links Public Transport and Folding Bikes in 10 major German Cities and Regions. Urban bike maker expands roster of transit authority partners to cover over 30% of nearly 10 billion annual passengers in Germany.
Turning bicycle advocacy into progressive public policy is close to the heart of our brand,” said Josh Hon, Tern Team Captain. “We are amazed how quickly this program has spread and look forward to helping more people understand and take advantage of multi-modal transportation systems.
For Dahon, the Dahon campaign asks people to take an online pledge to change their mobility habits and join the worldwide fight against carbon emissions. Dr. David Hon, CEO and Founder of Dahon states, This campaign is designed to encourage everyone to make a change, whether that’s carpooling to work, replacing the car with public transportation or choosing to bike more often. Every conscious decision to reduce carbon emissions helps and with enough support, we can make a huge difference.
While we have seen a more receptive consumer buyers and adopters of folding bikes. The increased number of cyclists everywhere fuels Singapore’s National Cycling Plan that envisions a cycling network of 700km by 2030, cycling networks that include intra town and inter town networks linking all the 26 HDB towns so you can cycle from your homes to neighbourhood centres and MRT stations.
In Jakarta, they have a car free day Sundays that create a very family/carnival atmosphere for citizens in Jakarta. Jakarta is one of the most congested cities in the world with a limited number of parks and green areas. Yet there is a ray of hope with the introduction of car free days. The result has been clear and quick in coming. The sun has broken through the grey clouds that are too often a signature of the city and the streets are now filled with runners, families, mini football teams and cyclists.
The next 15 years is going to see improved infrastructure to encourage a lower carbon footprint mode of transportation for sure. Let’s support as many of these initiatives that encourage healthier lifestyle through mobility. I like the approach that we encourage through better facilities and infrastructure by the government and taking baby steps is good to ensure we get inputs from everyone. I hear that is that there is talk about closing parts of City roads on Sundays and we hope it’s Shenton Way – Marina financial district. :)
Let’s show our positive support if that happens in Singapore. When its a carnival, you will encourage baskers, pop up kiosks, small enterprises to sell their wares and I am sure Singaporeans know how to have fun too. A Singapore Mardi gras?