Thursday, March 28, 2013

My cycling in Singapore experiences - Alternate routes

This post is about a way to make bicycle commuting safer by selection of route with safety as an, if not the most, important criteria. The idea does not need much explanation. Here, I'll just share how my recent commuting route evolved.

Start: Toa Payoh
End: NUH

During the initial years of my bicycle commuting in the late 90s, the route I would have used is based on bus route that I am familiar with. That would be Braddell, Lornie, Adam, Farrer, Holland, North Buona Vista, Lower Kent Ridge. I was and am still comfortable with majority of this route except the narrow-lanes and hilly Lornie and Adam roads, and most dangerous at the entrance to and exit from PIE along Adam road. Nevertheless, I think this route is the fastest and the last issue above "disappear" in the morning/evening peaks.

After some time, I have learned non-bus routes to get out and into Toa Payoh, and I called them "bicycle ports". Thus, I could avoid Braddell road by
(i) using Toa Payoh Rise, or
(ii) via footpath between blocks 173/4 (the SW port) on to Thomson road. Then, I could use Thomson, Newton, Bt Timah, Farrer, and so on. Or a shorter and I think safer, but illegal (for about 1 km) via Whitley-PIE-Whitley, Bt Timah, and so on.

Newton circle was not controlled back then and it is scary even if I drove (but I never had my own car). However, via Whitley-PIE-Whitley is illegal. Thus, for a while, I use Dyson, Chancery, Bt Timah, but Dyson road is a very steep road.

When I started this route two years ago, after a long break from regular bicycle commuting, I was consciously searching for safer routes.

Starting with the route using Thomson, Bt Timah, Farrer, Holland, North Buona Vista
Modifications or options are:
Note: The route I am currently using is in bold.

Exit Toa Payoh to Thomson road via
  SW port, or
  bridge besides swimming complex
    Balestier, or
    cross Balestier, Shan, Irrawaddy

Thomson to Chancery via
  U-turn before Jln Novena Barat (tricky, depends on traffic condition), footpath, or
  U-turn or cross at Thomson/Newton junction, Revenue House access road, Gentle road, Pasiran or
  U-turn or cross at Thomson/Newton junction, Revenue House access road, Gentle road, Pasiran

Chancery to Lower Kent Ridge
  Chancery to Holland via Farrer
    Chancery to Farrer
      Bt Timah or
      Bt Timah, Cluny Park, Kembang, Harom Setangkai, Gallop Park (a very steep road)
    Farrer to Holland
      Holland or
      Holland, Taman Warna (a short opposite direction)
  Chancery to Holland via Bt Timah, Coronation, Coronation West, footpath

  Holland road to Lower Kent Ridge
    Holland to North Buona Vista
      North Buona Vista, or
      Holland Ave, Commonwealth, North Buona Vista or
      Holland Ave, Liput, car park, footpath, cross Holland Dr, Bus terminal, North Buona Vista
    North Buona Vista to Lower Kent Ridge
      Dover junction on to grass patch to wheelchair friendly bridge crossing AYE
    or (if from Coronation West)
    bridge (carry bike), East Sussex, bridge (carry bike), Ghim Moh, cross Commonwealth West,
      Dover Rise, Dover car park, bridge across AYE (carry bike), or
      Rochester Park (opposite direction), Dover Rise, and so on, or
      Vista Exchange Green, car park (push bike down a short grass slope), Dover Rise, and so on, or


Chancery to Lower Kent Ridge
  Balmoral, Anderson, 
  Orange Grove to Tanglin road via
    footpath, or
    Orchard, Cuscaden, footpath, 
  Tanglin, Kay Siang, Margaret Dr, Queensway, Commonwealth, footpath, Tanglin Halt, 
  cross ex-railway behind block 76, Portsdown, 
    One-north Crescent/Gateway, Ayer Rajah, North Buona Vista, or
    North Buona Vista
  North Buona Vista to Lower Kent Ridge via 
    block 30, car park, park, bridge across AYE (carry bike)

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