Category Archives: Transport

Bencoolen Street gets lanes for pedestrians and cyclists

The redevelopment of Bencoolen Street involved converting a stretch of the road into a pedestrian path and cycling lane. This is a first time a major road is converted to walkers and cyclists. The stretch between Middle Road and Bras Basah Road for revamp was announced by the transport minister.

Villas at Somerset area

Went to an Open house at Brentwood Villa and Villa Madeleine this week. There are beautiful houses right at the periphery of Orchard area. Convenience is definitely is an understatement. The interiors were also luxurious. At 2300sqft of luxury living space right in the prestigious district of district 9 it is only at $10k per month ie slightly over $4psf. A bigger house at Villa Madeleine that is twice the size is available for only $15.2k. That’s only $3.7psf.






MRT boon for 3 sleepy parts of Singapore

The areas around three new MRT stations announced last week may be sleepy now, but expect this to change down the track.

Redevelopment potential is ripe near the sites of Keppel, Cantonment and Prince Edward stations, experts say. The trio will be part of the sixth stage of the Circle Line, to be completed in 2025.

Keppel Station is to be in Keppel Road, near Keppel Distripark and Keppel Terminal; while Cantonment will be integrated with the old Tanjong Pagar Railway Station. Prince Edward will be at one end of Shenton Way, near Palmer Road.

Other than Cantonment’s site, zoned commercial, the other two are zoned as reserve sites under the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Masterplan 2014.

This means the URA has much flexibility near the stations, said Ms Christine Li, director of Singapore research at Cushman & Wakefield.

As Cantonment will be an extension of the old railway station, ideas could include an integrated railway mall with a focus on food and beverage. It could also be a venue for cultural and lifestyle events to make use of the historic site, she said.

And, of course, it makes sense to have MRT users living nearby.

This is especially true for the thinly populated Keppel Station area. It is poised to be the gateway to the Southern Waterfront City and so it should see more residential and integrated residential and commercial developments, said Ms Li.

Few commercial projects are in the area, as it is in a comprehensive redevelopment zone – all to be under the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme when Keppel docklands move out, said Mr Alan Cheong, Savills Singapore research head.

So far, no GLS sites on the confirmed or reserve list are near the stations, but some mixed-development sites could be added in GLS programmes, he said.

But given the large supply of office space due from next year to 2018, it will be tough to get bidders excited about large office blocks.

Apart from undeveloped land in the three areas, the Government could slowly release the Marina Bay reclamation sites for development, Ms Li noted.

The new stations also bode well, longer term, for nearby properties.

On the residential side, these include Spottiswoode 18, Spottiswoode Residences, The Beacon and HDB estate Spottiswoode Park near Cantonment Station. 76 Shenton, completed last year, and Lumiere are near Prince Edward Station, noted R’ST Research director Ong Kah Seng.

The closest condos to Keppel Station are The Pearl@Mount Faber and Mount Faber Lodge.

“Sales activity has been quite sluggish in the three areas from last year due to the total debt servicing ratio… The areas are also not typical public housing estates… where there are many upgraders from nearby HDB estates,” Mr Ong said.

Spottiswoode condo prices fell about 5 per cent last year and 3 per cent in the first nine months of this year. Lumiere prices fell 8 per cent last year and about 5 per cent in the first nine months, he estimated.

In the Mount Faber area, prices fell about 7 per cent last year and 5 per cent in the first nine months.

But prices should rise as completion of the stations nears, he noted.

In the Cantonment area, office buildings like Southpoint will be served by two MRT stations – Cantonment and Tanjong Pagar MRT stations. Klapsons The Boutique Hotel will also gain, said Mr Cheong.

Part of Tanjong Pagar rail terminus to make way for MRT station

Parts of the historic Tanjong Pagar Railway Station’s platforms will be making way for the construction of the new underground Cantonment station on the Circle Line.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said yesterday it will seek advice from the heritage community on “possible solutions” for the two affected parallel stretches. The railway station was gazetted a national monument in 2011, alongside two 80m stretches of the platforms. The remaining 350m on each side are not part of the gazette.

The Straits Times understands that the authorities met six heritage experts on Tuesday and presented them with three options.

They were: to preserve the old platforms by dismantling, storing and reinstating them; to produce a replica; or to create a “new interpretation” of the railway platforms.

All the experts picked the first option. Singapore Heritage Society (SHS) president Chua Ai Lin said: “It is the only choice if you are serious about preserving history. The platforms must be reinstated as they are crucial in maintaining the railway’s integrity.”

LTA has also engaged Studio Lapis, an architectural conservation specialist consultancy, to assess the heritage significance and condition of the former railway station, and advise on mitigation measures.

Its co-founder, architectural restoration specialist Ho Weng Hin, said the second option is not feasible. It is unlikely that builders can replicate the former station’s reinforced concrete platform structures to the “same level of craftsmanship and proportions”, he said.

The 1932 station, designed by colonial architectural firm Swan and Maclaren, was the southern terminus of the Malaysian KTM railway company’s network for 79 years.

The Cantonment station, slated to be ready by 2025, is one of three new stops for the sixth stage of the Circle Line. The other two stations are Keppel and Prince Edward.

LTA chief executive Chew Men Leong said the Cantonment location was selected as it fits in with the overall alignment, will serve existing catchments, and cater to future developments such as the Greater Southern Waterfront. LTA stressed that measures will be taken to sensitively integrate the new station with the railway building.

Experts said locating Cantonment station alongside the old railway complex could provide a sense of historical continuity. To achieve this, heritage enthusiast and naval architect Jerome Lim suggested that the old structure serve as a thoroughfare for future commuters.

But the authorities have yet to decide if the former railway will be accessible to the public when the new station is ready. The Tanjong Pagar Railway property, managed by the Singapore Land Authority, is now usually open on public holidays.

Experts also raised the question of why the platforms were not fully preserved in the National Heritage Board’s (NHB) gazette.

Heritage law expert Kevin Tan said: “Without its platforms, the railway station will lose its sense of coherence. It would be like a head without its body.”

In a joint reply, NHB and the Urban Redevelopment Authority said the critical parts adjoining the former railway station building were gazetted as part of the national monument. They said the rest of the platforms were not gazetted to provide the flexibility for future developments in the area to be designed and integrated meaningfully with the national monument.

They said: “We did not foresee it at the point of gazette, but this flexibility has facilitated plans to incorporate the new MRT station at the site, which will be critical to the former railway station’s future success as a community node.”

SHS exco member Yeo Kang Shua said the construction of the Prince Edward station, located in the heart of the historic Tanjong Malang, presents an opportunity for an archaeological impact assessment. “There should be an investigation into the first few metres of earth where the cultural layer lies.”

3 New MRT Stations make the Circle Line a full circle in 2025

SINGAPORE: Three more train stations – Keppel, Cantonment and Prince Edward – will be added to the Circle Line (CCL) by 2025, closing the loop for the orbital line.

These stations will be located along a 4-kilometre stretch connecting the existing CCL HarbourFront station to Marina Bay station. With this extension, the Circle Line will span 33 stations strung out over 40km of tracks.

Announcing the finalised alignment and stations during a visit to the Tuas West Extension on Thurdsay (Oct 29), Senior Minister of State for Transport Ng Chee Meng said that by the time the line is fully completed, more than a third of stations – 12 out of 33 – will be interchanges.

The orbital line will improve connectivity so that commuters can transfer between lines without entering the city centre and reach their destinations more quickly, he added.

Said Mr Ng: “Besides making transfers to other lines much more convenient, CCL6 will support direct East-West travel, enhancing overall connectivity between areas such as Paya Lebar and Mountbatten, and areas such as Pasir Panjang, Kent Ridge and Harbourfront. More importantly, commuters will also enjoy a direct route to the CBD and the Marina Bay area.”

Commuters will have a direct route between areas in the west like Pasir Panjang and Kent Ridge, and key employment areas in the Central Business District.

How Circle Line 6 will integrate with the other existing lines when it is completed.

The extension will also lead to time savings. For example, a commuter will take 35 minutes to travel from West Coast and Indoor Stadium, compared to 45 minutes currently.

Keppel station will be located along Keppel Road. “Keppel station will enjoy a unique landscape theme, in line with our vision of Singapore that is City in a Garden,” said Mr Ng. “It will have an undulating green roof with tree-like columns in a natural setting. There will also be an underground bicycle park which will allow cyclists direct access to the concourse.”

Artist’s impression of the entrance and concourse of the upcoming Keppel MRT station.

Cantonment station will be built in the vicinity of the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, with its design inspired by the old train station.

The heritage building, which has been designated as a National Monument, will not be affected, the Land Transport Authority said. However, parts of the former railway station’s platform will need to be removed for the new underground Cantonment station.

LTA is looking at several options, which include dismantling and then reinstating the old platform, or creating a replica of the old platform.

Artist’s impression of the platform of the upcoming Cantonment MRT station.

Prince Edward station will be located near Bestway Building, Hock Teck See Temple and Haji Muhammad Salleh mosque. These buildings will not be affected by construction works, said LTA.

It added that while all efforts have been made to minimise land acquisition, four part lots of private land consisting of open areas, grass verges, container stacking lots and driveways will be acquired. LTA said as these lots will only be partially affected, the landowners will be able to remain in their current premises.

Artist’s impression of the entrances and concourse of the upcoming Prince Edward MRT station.

Separately, the Circle Line’s Kim Chuan Depot will also be expanded by 2025 to cater to future needs. Its capacity will be almost doubled – from 70 to 133 trains. The integrated depot will also house 550 buses.

As for the Tuas West Extension, which will have four new stations, LTA says it is on track to open by the end of 2016.

Tiong Bahru Plaza reopen next year after major revamp

Tiong Bahru residents will soon have a newly refurbished mall to go with the hipster joints and boutiques their estate is known for. By the end of next year, the 21- year-old Tiong Bahru Plaza will fully reopen with a more modern look after renovations, which began a year ago, are completed.

The makeover, which costs more than $90 million, aims to draw younger residents and families already living there.

After its makeover, the mall, which draws 1.2 million visitors each month, will cover 215,000 sq ft, up from the previous 190,000 sq ft. It will have new communal spaces for people to mingle, including an open terrace on the fourth level, and a plaza, which may be used for events like flea markets or music performances.

On the third level, there will be a new 800 sq m playground, with a structure in the shape of a bird – inspired by the mosaic ones found in older public housing estates.

The mall in Tiong Bahru Road will have 155 shops on five storeys, up from 150 previously. It will also have an air-conditioned, two-storey link with shops to Central Plaza, the mall’s office tower.

So far, nearly 85 per cent of tenants have confirmed their interest in opening shop. Some are returning brands like foodcourt operator Kopitiam and IT chain Challenger, while others are new ones such as Thai restaurant Bangkok Jam.

The mall, owned by a real estate fund managed by investment manager Pramerica Investment Management Singapore, is hoping to attract more visitors as more people move into the area.

Over the next three years, Tiong Bahru will have 11 new residential developments, with about 2,800 units. For instance, Highline Residences, a condominium within walking distance of the mall, is expected to be completed by 2018.

Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre upgrading

The 32-year-old Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre is undergoing improvement works, and sellers there are hopeful that a refurbished centre will draw the crowds back.

Some areas in the centre were hoarded up when The Straits Times visited earlier this month.

According to the signs put up, a wider carpark driveway will be completed by the end of this month, and a linkway between Blocks 13 and 14 will be built by end-September. The centre remains open during this period.

HDB called for an expression of interest last month for a consultant to carry out further improvement works by mid-2017, such as building more covered walkways and roof extensions, upgrading common toilets and repainting the facade of the centre.

The cost of the renovations is not available as the proposals are not finalised.

Mr Tay Khiam Back, chairman of the centre’s association, said stallholders will also benefit from new coldrooms currently under construction.

“The previous system was designed more than 30 years ago and is getting old,” he said.

Sellers and shoppers said the renovations works are a long time coming.

The centre, made up of 26 blocks, opened in 1983 to centralise the distribution of vegetables, fruits and dried goods.

Sellers said that the number of walk-in customers has dwindled over the years as people preferred to shop for groceries in the comfort of supermarkets instead of the non-air-conditioned centre.

Madam Sim Cho Hwang, the 62-year-old boss of Shen Trading and Wholesale, a dried goods store in the centre, said: “It is about time they did something about the carpark. It has been the same size since 1983, and there are cracks in the carpark grounds.”

With perspiration running down her face, she added: “I hope they make the roof higher, so there is better ventilation. It is very hot in here.”

Madam Noor Sinah Abdul Gani, who shops at the centre once a week, said she is looking forward to the covered walkways and wider carpark driveway.

The 58-year-old, who sells spices at a Jurong East market, said: “The centre is quite dirty and disorganised now, and the carpark is small and congested.”

All Roads in Singapore leads to Post Office

Before the road system of modern-day Singapore was introduced, people meant it quite literally when they said they had reached a milestone.

They used to find their way across the island with the help of large stone markers found on roads. Standing erect a mile, or about 1.6km, apart, the milestones were labelled with numbers and led people to both rural and modern parts of the island.

For instance, a movie-goer might have directed a rickshaw puller to stop at Bukit Panjang’s 10 mile junction where an open-air cinema used to stand.

Singapore’s milestone system is now being documented by the National Heritage Board (NHB), after someone stumbled upon what could be the last such stone here.

In May last year, artist Akai Chew, 28, found the relic hidden among the roots of a tree on the side of the road between Geylang Lorong 6 and 8. A Facebook post he made about his discovery led film-maker Chang Soh Kiak, 56, to contact NHB, whose Impact Assessment and Mitigation team later started a study on milestones.

NHB researchers, who called the mile post a “rare” find, said the milestone system was implemented after the Singapore Municipal Committee started developing roads beyond the town centre.

Made of sandstone and then granite, they were likely introduced by the British around the 1840s. Markers were usually about 2m in height, with about 35cm exposed above ground.

The team identified popular roads associated with mile posts such as Hougang’s lark kok jio, or sixth milestone in Hokkien. Some names have stuck. For instance, a station on the Bukit Panjang LRT Line is called Tenth Mile Junction.

Mr Alvin Tan, assistant chief executive of policy and development at NHB, said the project is important as “milestones represent a key component of the history of public roads in Singapore”.

Freelance map consultant Mok Ly Yng, 47, said the milestone system was first mentioned in the Singapore Free Press in 1843. He said 25 milestones were purchased the year before by the British.

The General Post Office, where the Fullerton Hotel stands today, was point zero for measuring road distances. All roads here stemmed from this point, a system that can trace its roots to the Roman Empire. “It’s exactly as the saying goes – all roads lead to Rome,” said Mr Mok, who worked with the Singapore Armed Forces Mapping Unit and the National Archives of Singapore. “There had to be an address system for the authorities to react to reports of tigers and murders across Singapore,” he added.

The imperial system was replaced in the 1970s by the metric one using kilometres and mile posts were gradually removed.

The mile post discovered by Mr Chew has since become one of two markers that are part of the national collection, after it was removed by the Land Transport Authority last November due to road works. NHB worked closely with LTA to extract the marker. It also produced a video on the extraction process, which was uploaded today to its YouTube channel at

Mr Chew thinks it was a pity the marker was removed: “Removing it removes it from its context.” However, now that it has been uprooted, heritage blogger Jerome Lim believes it might be more meaningful for the milestone “to be preserved in a museum for greater public access”.

Singapore high-speed rail terminus will be at current Jurong Country Club site

Artist's impression of Jurong Lake District by 2018. -- PHOTO: URBAN REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
The Jurong Country Club site will be where the terminus of the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur high-speed rail (HSR) will be located.

The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) has gazetted the acquisition of the 67ha plot and the club will be expected to hand over the land by November 2016, the Government said on Monday.

With the terminus expected to occupy only about 12 ha – or around 18 per cent – of the total area, the remaining land will be transformed into a mixed-use development comprising offices, hotels, retail and residences.

This is in line with plans to transform Jurong East into Singapore’s second Central Business District, with high-speed rail commuters being able to travel to and from KL in just 90 minutes.

Urban Redevelopment Authority chief executive Ng Lang said on Monday: “The high-speed rail… will not exist in isolation. You’ll need supporting amenities and infrastructure, and you will need a sizeable piece of land for this purpose.”

Outline of Jurong Country Club site. — SOURCE: LAND TRANSPORT AUTHORITY

While technical studies will be conducted to decide the exact location of the HSR terminus, it will be no further than 600 metres from the current Jurong East MRT station and connected by linkways, the Government said.

Two upcoming MRT lines, the Jurong Region Line and the Cross Island Line, which will be completed in 2025 and 2030 respectively, will also be within accessible distance of the new terminus.

The Jurong Country Club, which was founded in 1975, has a land lease for the site until 2035. The club completed an 18-hole renovation in July 2012, which cost about $24 million.

The SLA said it will not be giving the JCC an alternative site for another golf course, but may offer it another area for social uses.

On May 5, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong revealed that the Singapore terminus for the HSR link to Kuala Lumpur will be in the Jurong Lake District in Jurong East. Details of the site were not provided then.

While the HSR was initially targeted for completion in 2020, both Mr Lee and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak have said this timeline may need to be re-assessed, given the scale and complexity of the project.

New Seletar flyover to improve road links between Punggol, Seletar and Yishun

New Seletar flyover to improve road links

A NEW flyover along with adjacent roads will open in Seletar later this month, offering motorists greater connectivity to major expressways and the aerospace hub. Seletar Aerospace Flyover and the new roads will open on May 16 at 5am and will support an expected growth in traffic in the area, which includes the aerospace hub and the upcoming Sengkang West Industrial Area.

The dual three-lane flyover will provide direct connections to the Central Expressway (CTE), Seletar Expressway (SLE) and Tampines Expressway (TPE). It will also be linked to Jalan Kayu.

Connecting to the flyover will be a new road – Sengkang West Road – that will allow motorists travelling from Yio Chu Kang to travel directly to the TPE. Drivers currently have to take a circuitous trip through Jalan Kayu to do this. The new route is expected to ease traffic congestion along the one-lane Jalan Kayu, which was built in the 1920s.

Also, motorists heading to Seletar Aerospace Park from the expressway can use a new road – Seletar Aerospace Way – via the new flyover. The entire stretch of Seletar Aerospace Flyover, Seletar Aerospace Way and Sengkang West Road is about 3km.

The $80-million project started in the second quarter of 2011. It is one of a number of road projects in the area, including an alternative road link between Yishun and the CTE which opened in January.

Retiree Tan Tuan Khoon, 69, who has been living in Seletar since the 1970s, said heavy vehicles which are travelling through Jalan Kayu now will have an alternative route in Sengkang West Road, which will relieve traffic.

However, he is not too sure of the name. “Sengkang West Road could be confusing for taxi drivers, when we are in Seletar, and the name should be more related to that.”