Woodlands stretch closed to vehicles next month

Starting next month, a stretch of road next to Kampung Admiralty will be temporarily closed off to cars and other private vehicles as part of a trial to repurpose road lanes as footpaths, pedestrianised streets or cycling paths.

Water-filled barriers will be placed along a stretch of Woodlands Ring Road, between Woodlands Drive 63 and Drive 71, closing off the westbound lane, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) yesterday.

The eastbound lane of the road will be converted to a bus-only road that only public buses and emergency vehicles can use.

The partial pedestrianisation of Woodlands Ring Road comes after the Transport Ministry set out plans last year to re-imagine Singapore’s road infrastructure by converting underused road lanes into cycling and bus lanes, and pedestrianising roads. It is part of Singapore’s ongoing push to go car-lite and promote walking and cycling.

The LTA said the trial in Woodlands will give residents and students from nearby schools more space to walk and cycle.

It will also make access to Kampung Admiralty, Admiralty MRT station and other amenities more convenient for pedestrians.

The LTA will engage the community to get feedback and suggestions. Changes to the road layout will be made permanent only if the public supports it.

Residents who spoke to The Straits Times said they welcomed the move and hoped it would make the area, which is often filled with cyclists and food delivery riders, safer. But others wondered if the changes were necessary, given they would likely cause confusion and inconvenience to motorists.

Ms Candy Wong, 38, who cycles home daily, said: “It might be troublesome for drivers, but pedestrians will feel safer. Riders too.”

In a Facebook post, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said there is rising pedestrian footfall in the Kampung Admiralty area, which has become popular with Woodlands and Sembawang residents.

“We have the opportunity to make Singapore a greener, car-lite city through a careful and sensible balance of trade-offs,” he said, adding that more such projects are in the pipeline.

An LTA spokesman said the stretch being repurposed has low to moderate traffic volume so pedestrianising it would not adversely affect motorists too much.

But resident Sakun Mahalingam, 35, said there can be a lot of traffic in the mornings and evenings. “There will definitely be more jams as drivers get used to the new roads,” she said. “But it is a good idea. We have a lot of elderly people and young parents with kids here.”

Sembawang GRC MP Mariam Jaafar said in a Facebook post that pedestrianisation opens up possibilities for alfresco dining and community activities, such as street parties or a farmers’ market.

The trial will last at least six months for the LTA to take in feedback and monitor the impact on traffic. It said it has been exploring potential locations for road repurposing and will continue to study other suitable areas.

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