Speech by Acting Minister for Transport Mr Chee Hong Tat at the Friendly Streets Groundbreaking Ceremony

04 Dec 2023Speeches

SMS Amy Khor,
Colleagues from our Transport GPC,
Alan Chan, Chairman of LTA
Colleagues from MOT, LTA, government agencies
Ladies and gentlemen,

A very good afternoon to all of you.

1.     I am happy to join everyone to break ground at our very first site for the Friendly Streets initiative. This is part of our commitment to build an accessible, inclusive and sustainable land transport system that meets the needs of all Singaporeans.

Friendly Streets’ Role in the Overall Car-Lite Vision

2.     As part of our car-lite strategy, we implemented a zero-growth policy for cars and motorcycles, and promote W-C-R modes of transport: Walk, Cycle and Ride. Over the years, we have been making continuous improvements in support of W-C-R. Allow me to elaborate.

3.    First, “ride”. To enhance the convenience and accessibility of our public transport system, we are expanding our rail network with an additional 100km of rail by the 2030s, which is about a 40% increase in length from today. With our investments in public transport, 8 in 10 households will be within a 10-minute walk of one of our more than 200 train stations. We will also continue to expand the coverage of buses, to serve new towns and new estates in different parts of Singapore.

4.     Next, “cycle”. We are doubling the island-wide cycling path network to 1,300km by 2030, to provide a more connected, seamless and safe cycling experience. At the same time, we have put in place guidelines for safer cycling, for all road users including cyclists, drivers and pedestrians. Safety is a collective responsibility.

5.     Today, we are focusing on “Walk”. Walking is an important part of our first-and-last-mile journeys – such as to-and-from MRT stations or bus stops – and also a form of commute in itself, such as to the nearby wet market, hawker centre or shops near our homes. This is why we want to enhance the walking experience for residents of all ages!

6.     The Friendly Streets initiative aims to make walking journeys to key amenities in our neighbourhoods safer, more convenient and comfortable. It expands on our existing efforts such as Silver Zones, School Zones, Transit Priority Corridors and the repurposing of roads. Some of you may ask why all these different initiatives. They serve different purposes, different areas, but they all share similar goal, which is to make the community experience, the walking experience for all the road users safer and more convenient.

Update on the Friendly Streets Initiative

7.     I am pleased to share the progress made since our announcement of the Friendly Streets initiative earlier this year, during MOT’s Committee of Supply. Over the past few months, many of our LTA and MOT colleagues, under the leadership of SMS Amy Khor, have worked closely with the community to design the features of our five Friendly Streets pilot sites. I want to thank SMS Khor and our hardworking team from MOT and LTA for their efforts.

8.     Our team has walked the ground at the various pilot sites to identify ways to improve the pedestrian experience, and to engage residents through community events and surveys to hear their views and feedback. Each Taskforce has made valuable contributions to tailor the features of its Friendly Street to the needs of its community. A special thanks to all our Grassroots Advisers, Grassroots Leaders, community representatives, and officers from the People’s Association and the Town Council for your hard work and your support to co-create these Friendly Streets enhancements together with our team. We could not have done this without you.

9.     As we went along with engagements with the various communities, I am heartened by the positive feedback we received. 9 in 10 respondents felt that Friendly Streets features would further improve safety and barrier-free accessibility in their neighbourhoods. Stakeholders were also excited to see the upcoming improvements within their towns. This gives us the confidence to scale up the Friendly Streets initiative beyond the five pilot projects to all towns across the island. By 2030, every town in Singapore will have at least one Friendly Street.

Features of Friendly Streets

10.    Allow me to take you on a journey across one of our Friendly Streets. At the start of each Friendly Street, specially designed signages and on-road markings will signal to motorists that they are entering a pedestrian-friendly environment.

11.    Next, you will see signalised pedestrian crossings programmed with more frequent Green Man activations and longer crossing time so that pedestrians, especially the elderly, can cross the road safely and comfortably. An example is the new signalised pedestrian crossing for the Bukit Batok Street 31 and 32 junction, which connects pedestrians to the Hong Kah North Community Club in a safe and convenient way.

12.    You will also experience traffic calming measures such as road humps and narrowing of road lanes, which will reduce the speed of vehicles driving through a Friendly Street, and give pedestrians greater assurance on safety as they cross the road.

13.    Another feature which will enhance your walking experience will be kerbless crossings. At such crossings, the area of the footpath is gradually lowered to the same level as the adjacent road. This makes it easier and more convenient for everyone to cross the road, including wheelchair users, families with young children, prams and of course, the elderly.

14.    You will also notice more greenery, which will make walking more comfortable and enjoyable. As you are waiting for your bus, or if you need a short rest, you can do so at one of the upgraded bus stops with additional seats and rain screen.

15.    All in all, these features will make for a much safer, convenient and enjoyable walking experience in our neighbourhoods. And we are open to other ideas and suggestions as we implement Friendly Streets across various towns in Singapore together with the various communities in these towns. This is a good start, we have five pilot sites. As I mentioned earlier, we will be doing many more over the next few years all the way to 2030, and in each town when we do Friendly Streets, it will be a co-creation process together with our community, so that we are able to tailor the features and the enhancements to best fit the needs of each community.

16.    Let me say a few words in Mandarin before I conclude. 各位女士们,先生们,各位朋友们,在邻里打造 “安行街道” 主要是要让居民出行时感到更安全、便捷,和舒适。武吉巴督区是五个试行 “安行街道” 的邻里之一,也是首个动土仪式的地点。

17.    在该计划下,我们将实施几项改善措施,包括在靠近武吉巴督33 街大牌324号,32 街大牌326,及366号的组屋设置 “无路障连接设计” (kerbless ramps) ,让居民能在以上地点无障碍地过马路。

18.    我们也会依据当地居民的需求打造每个 “安行街道”,因为每个社区都有它们不同的需要,所以,我们会把实用及有效的方案带入各个邻里,让居民在邻里行走时,感觉更安全,更方便, 更舒适。

19.    在此,我由衷地感谢所有积极给予我们建议和反馈的居民。我也要感谢和我们一起探讨方案的基层领袖及各个部门的官员,让今天的动土仪式能如期进行。谢谢大家对“安行街道”计划的支持和贡献。

20.    In conclusion, the Friendly Streets initiative is not only about improving infrastructure, that is an important part of it; but it is also about fostering a stronger sense of community and bringing different stakeholders to work together to make our neighbourhoods friendlier and more inclusive for residents of all ages.

21.    Thank you.


You may also like