Bicyclists’ paradise in Eastern Singapore

P1130201 Mark my lane

Tanah Merah Coast Road’s on-road bike lane. The PCN can be seen on the left.

SINGAPORE: Sunday 23 April 2017 was the first full day that the new Tanah Merah Coast Road was open, with its exclusive on-road bicycle lanes and the adjacent Coastal Park Connector, the latest addition to Singapore’s Park Connector Network (PCN).

After traversing the new route from north to south and back again, I can say that the planners behind this project have really pulled off a bicycling masterpiece.

Don’t take my word for it, just look at the happy faces of the people enjoying the new PCN and Singapore’s first and only on-road bike lane.

P1130195 Happy cyclists

Bicyclists enjoying both the on-road bike lane and PCN along Tanah Merah Coast Road  

 

Bicyclists using the new PCN will notice an innovative new feature for cool night rides, in-ground light fixtures along the route.

P1130181 Night Light

In-ground light fixture along the PCN.

The Changi Lodge dormitory also provides a coffee shop, ATM and mini-market for cyclists seeking to have a break and replenish depleted water bottles, or just heeding the call of nature (I mean, using the restroom). Details of this stop can be obtained on Google Maps.

P1130220 my bike leaned makan 80

Makan 80, the perfect rest stop for a snack, kopi or toilet break during your ride.

P1130218 rider diners

Makan 80 is already a hit with bicyclists, and this place may experience a real boom in business every weekend as interest in the Coastal Park Connector grows.

The on-road bike lane and PCN incorporate many well thought out features to make them attractive to advanced cyclists, beginners and novices. In addition to cyclists, the PCN will be popular with runners and skaters who are already making appearances there.

 

P1130212 Runners too

A runner enjoying the Coastal Park Connector.

 

Hydrate!

Trees that have been planted along the route will soon bring some welcome shade, so in the meantime it is important to bring a good supply of drinking water. A future improvement would be to install some drinking fountains along the route. For shade, there are four shelters for cyclists along the eastern stretch (please refer to the official map that appears toward the end of this blog).

The wide PCN provides plenty of room for all users moving in each direction, and most people were being responsible by keeping to the left.

Traffic lights are few and far between. At some, the police were on hand to remind a few errant cyclists that the red lights apply to cyclists just as much as they apply to motor vehicles.

The eastern-most stretch offers some nice sea views, including the Pengerang hill silhouetted on the horizon (an hour’s bum boat ride from Changi Village Ferry Terminal).

By now I guess you have had enough reading, so I’ll let a few photos tell the rest of the story, starting with the good, followed by official informative notices, and ending with, areas for improvement.

Pictures tell the story

P1130191 New Beginnings

The beginning of the on-road bike lane at the northern end. 

P1130192 Lady biker new lane trepedation

A cyclist moving into the start of the on-road bike lane.

P1130193 In the lane

Tanah Merah Coast Road on-road bike lane.

P1130199 serious

Tanah Merah Coast Road on-road bike lane.

P1130207 a lush PCN

The Coastal Park Connector is already being enjoyed by cyclists of all ages.

P1130208 no end in sight

The Coastal Park Connecter – From here to infinity!

P1130222 Bridge lane adequacy

The upgraded bridge just before East Coast Park has a nice wide bike lane that would be welcome on all bridges!

P1130239 rain no worry

A little rain did not stop this bike enthusiast.

P1130238 solid when wet

Even on-road bike lane users are not afraid of a little rain.

P1130216 rider

One guy zooming past Makan 80.

P1130217 riders

Three cyclists passing Makan 80.

P1130183 Fork in the PCN

In the few places where the PCN splits, the directions are well-marked to avoid accidents.

P1130189 Future exit seaside

This ‘interesting’ feature might indicate a future path leading to the waterside.

P1130206 Blue lagoon

There are some scenic views along the way.

P1130221 amongst the lorries

The on-road bike lane keeps the heavy vehicles at a safe distance.

P1130213 Nature wants it

Nature is already making an attempt to reclaim some of the older parts of the PCN along the route.

 

The official notices

 

P1130178 Notice new PCN open

This is posted in Changi Beach Park just before Changi Ferry Road.

P1130205 Know your limitations

Very good advice – only experienced bicyclists should use the on-road bike lanes. Other signage reminds all users to keep to the left and obey traffic signals.

official map

The officially released info – showing the location of the four shelters.

Room for improvement

There are always teething pains with any new project. Fortunately there are very few with the Tanah Merah Coast Road on-road bike lanes and Coastal Park Connector. But just to complete the picture, I should mention;

P1130184 Not quite finished

In the northern stretch along Aviation Park Road there is a short section where the PCN has not been completed, so for now it is just an ordinary pavement.

 

There were some who worried that cars would use the bike lane as a parking lane. Well, of course, it would be naive to think that this would never happen, and sure enough, on day one, here we are! This is just after the exit to the Tanah Merah Ferry terminal.

P1130234 lane blocked

An apparently broken down car parked in the on-road bike lane.

P1130233 Bike Lane Blocked

A cyclist forced into lane 3 of Tanah Merah Coast Road by the driver who parked his car in the bike lane after exiting Tanah Merah Ferry terminal.

 

Foto credits

All photos by Thomas Timlen

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