SINGAPORE: The National Parks Board (NParks) on Sunday (Sep 20) marked the 25th anniversary of the Park Connector Network (PCN) in Singapore, with the planting of 200 trees at Balam and Pelton Canal Park Connectors by members of the community including schools, corporate organisations and residents of MacPherson.
On Sunday, a new park connector along Hougang Avenue 3 was also launched to link the Punggol waterways down to the Marina Bay area. This will enable Punggol executive condo residents such as those from The Terrace EC to cycle to city.
The island-wide network of green links improve connectivity to major parks, nature sites and housing estates in Singapore, by taking advantage of drainage and road reserve land.
Over the years, the network has stretched to more than 300km in length. It has also evolved beyond its initial function of connecting parks, and now sports facilities such as bicycle-wheeling channels along overhead bridges along the routes.
In a blog post, Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan said it was heartening that the community has developed a strong sense of ownership towards the PCN, such that successive National Development Ministers have embraced and enhanced it.
“Our park connectors have become well-loved green spaces. Volunteers have organised guided rides and cycle-in movies to liven up the PCN,” wrote Mr Khaw.
“Cycling group LoveCycling SG has bicycle maintenance workshops and cycling sessions. PCN advocates like Mr Han Jok Kwang have provided many suggestions to improve the PCN, and initiated fund-raising activities to support these improvements. He described his initiatives as good old kampung ‘gotong royong’.”
NEW PARK CONNECTOR IN HOUGANG
It is the last stretch of the Central Urban Loop, and also the latest addition to the island-wide network of park connectors that forms part of NParks’ “City in a Garden” vision.
With the completion of the Hougang Avenue 3 park connector in August, residents of Hougang and MacPherson now have seamless access to the Central Urban Loop. The 36km loop stretches from Lower Pierce Reservoir to Punggol Waterways and leads into the city via the Kallang Park Connector.
NParks said these connectors make efficient use of the space running alongside road and drainage reserves, in densely populated areas such as Aljunied, Serangoon and Paya Lebar.
Said NParks Director of Parks Development, Yeo Meng Tong: “The challenges we face are always about the surrounding infrastructure, which are already there.
“So, we have to be careful to make sure that the utilisation of this reserve land is well integrated with the surroundings, so that the residents and the people around it (who are) working there as well can have easy access to the park connectors, which lead them to better connections to our parks, or other leisure activities.”
He added that some challenges include the installing of wheel gutters instead of wider bicycle ramps, to aid cyclists up overhead bridges.
According to Mr Khaw, the PCN is still “growing strong,” with an additional 30km of Park Connectors to be completed in Ang Mo Kio, Lorong Halus, and Ulu Pandan over the next three years. NParks aims to eventually grow the PCN to 360km long by 2020.
NParks also announced that 5,500 trees are being planted across the island from Aug 1 to Oct 31, as part of Clean and Green SG50. The initiative will involve an estimated 20,000 people in planting more than 100 species of trees along parks, park connectors and Nature Ways, and highlights how greenery has become an integral part of Singaporeans’ lives.