Outdoor terrariums among new features in Ang Mo Kio, Singapore's first walking and cycling town

SINGAPORE - Do not be surprised when you spot butterflies fluttering near manicured plants encased in glass containers below MRT viaducts in the future.

These outdoor terrariums - the first in Singapore - together with butterfly-attracting plants and artworks, can already be found under the MRT viaduct along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8, which is part of the government plan to encourage Singaporeans to go 'car-lite'.

Ang Mo Kio will be transformed into Singapore's first walking and cycling town with infrastructure upgrades such as bicycle maintenance workspaces, dedicated cycling paths, parks along the routes, and seamless connectivity.

These dedicated cycling paths will be demarcated in red to distinguish them from footpaths, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said in a joint press release with the National Parks Board (NParks) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

An additional 16km-long cycling path network, including a 1.6km-long walking and cycling corridor along the MRT viaduct between Yio Chu Kang MRT station and Ang Mo Kio MRT station, will be ready by 2019.

This network is part of the second phase to transform Ang Mo Kio, allowing all homes in the town to be within a 5-minute walk to the nearest cycling path.

The government agencies added that the network will also link up to the upcoming Mayflower and Lentor MRT stations on the Thomson-East Coast Line, as well as the cycling trunk route along North-South Corridor, which offers a direct cycling connection from Ang Mo Kio to the city.

Work to start on 150km Round Island Route

45km of existing park connectors will also be connected through the 60km Coastal Adventure Corridor.

The Coastal Adventure Corridor is the first of three corridors forming the 150km Round Island Route (RIR), boasting paths 6 metres wide, compared to current park connectors measuring 4 metres.

NParks will commence development works by the end of the year, and users will be able to cycle along the coasts of Punggol, Pasir Ris, Changi and East Coast Park to get to Gardens by the Bay from Lower Seletar Reservoir Park when completed.

Sengkang Riverside Park will also boast a man-made island with wetland plantings for otters to build their holts.

Queenstown-City and Geylang-City inter-town cycling routes

Future plans in the pipeline include inter-town cycling routes to connect cyclists directly from their homes to the city from the east to the west through the city centre.

Plans are already in place to construct the Queenstown-City and Geylang-City routes, allowing people to cycle from Geylang and Marine Parade to Queenstown and Bukit Merah.

"We have also identified some towns that are within a 30-minute cycling distance from the city such as Bishan, Hougang and Bukit Timah, and will be plugging gaps along the existing cycling routes to the city, to make the riding experience smoother and more seamless," the agencies said in the joint statement.

In the longer term, towns in the north such as Sembawang, Yishun and Ang Mo Kio will be linked to the dedicated cycling paths integrated with the North-South Corridor, providing a direct route for people to cycle from their homes to the city.