Community gathers to celebrate 25 years of the Park Connector Network
20 Sep 2015
Launch of new Central Urban Loop and completion of 300 km of PCN
Singapore, 20 September 2015 — The National Parks Board (NParks) celebrated 25 years of the Park Connector Network (PCN) and the completion of 300 km of the Park Connectors today by involving schools, corporate organisations and residents from Macpherson in the planting of 200 trees at Balam Park Connector and Pelton Canal Park Connector. The celebrations also marked the opening of the new Central Urban Loop. Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan graced the event.
NParks CEO, Kenneth Er, said, “The Park Connectors are the green veins of our City in a Garden, connecting our communities to our parks and providing myriad recreational options for many. We are marking its 25th anniversary by inviting the community to join us in tree planting along the PCN. As we celebrate Singapore’s jubilee year, it is timely that 300 km of Park Connectors has been completed, five years ahead of the initial target. Part of this 300 km includes the new Central Urban Loop, which links to the existing Eastern Coastal and North Eastern Riverine Loops. With 300 km of our Park Connectors complete, we look forward to achieving the next milestone of 360 km by 2020.”
Completion of new Central Urban Loop
The new 36-kilometre Central Urban Loop is the fifth PCN loop in our City in a Garden. Together with the North-Eastern Riverine Loop and the Eastern Coastal Loop, the three loops provide linkages to green spaces in Eastern Singapore. Highlighting the charm of the heartlands, the loop brings visitors through popular green spaces and symbolic regional parks with rich history. These include the Kallang Park Connector which was the first Park Connector built; Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park, one of the largest urban parks with rich biodiversity; and Punggol Waterway Park where there is a wide range of facilities available for recreational activities amidst nature.
The Hougang Avenue 3 Park Connector was the final stretch of the Central Urban Loop to be completed. This opens a new route for residents at Hougang and Macpherson to enter the North-Eastern Riverine Loop via the Serangoon Park Connector, linking them to rustic green pockets such as Coney Island. The Hougang Avenue 3 Park Connector also provides Punggol residents with easier access to the Eastern Coastal Loop via the Pelton Canal and Kallang Park Connectors, with a cycling track passing Kallang Riverside Park.
For a map on the various PCN loops, please refer to the Annex.
25 years of the Park Connector Network
2015 marks 25 years of the Park Connector Network since the proposal for a network of greenways was conceptualised in 1990 and approved by the Garden City Action Committee in 1991. The PCN is an island-wide network of linear open spaces linking major parks, nature sites and housing estates in Singapore. It was built to improve connectivity between parks and provide accessible leisure options for Singaporeans. The concept was to utilise drainage reserve land as a green link between the parks, thereby optimising space for recreation in land-scarce Singapore.
The first completed Park Connector was officially opened on 14 August 1992 along the Kallang River, linking Bishan – Ang Mo Kio Park to Kallang Riverside Park. When the PCN was first conceptualised, the total length of the network was to be over 300 km and completed by 2020. Today, more than 300 km of Park Connectors have been built to provide more opportunities for nature-based recreation.
Over the years, the PCN has evolved beyond its initial function to connect parks. It currently provides enhanced accessibility and connectivity, more opportunities to experience nature, and a platform for communities with shared interests to gather. Facilities such as bicycle wheeling channels along the staircases of overhead bridges and the bicycle-friendly bridge on the Ulu Pandan Park Connector near the Ayer Rajah Expressway were introduced. Aligning with our City in a Garden vision, characteristic and native plant species serve to create lush greenery along park connectors which provide habitats for butterflies and garden birds.
Since its inception, the community has been involved in enhancing the PCN experience through events, activities and outreach. Many have joined the “PCN Friends” group and participated in NParks’ events like guided rides, cycle-in movies and community tree-plantings. Cycling interest groups such as LoveCycling Singapore regularly step forward to co-organise activities such as bicycle maintenance workshops and cycling sessions. Their members such as Woon Taiwoon and Francis Chu, often suggest ways to improve the way-finding and safety of our Park Connectors to benefit park users. Our passionate PCN friend turned advocate, Han Jok Kwang, has been rendering his support over the past few years by gathering friends from the private and public sectors to participate actively in PCN rides and events. Besides providing suggestions to improve the design of the park connectors Jok Kwang initiated the dollar-for-dollar project aimed at making improvements that will enhance the riding experience along the PCN. He also uses the PCN as a platform to bring like-minded people together to appreciate the joy of cycling as a means of recreation and discovering places in Singapore, and even to raise funds for charities like the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.
Corporate organisations have contributed to PCN initiatives in various ways to help build a safe and verdant environment for recreation. Coca-Cola has sponsored a fitness corner at Simei Park Connector, OCBC launched the OCBC – NParks Ride Safe programme while Sharp has sponsored a butterfly garden. The community has benefited from companies’ tree planting efforts along the PCN since 2011.
CG SG50 Mass Tree Planting Programme
Stakeholders of the PCN, including 200 residents from Macpherson, schools, and corporate organisations, participated in planting 200 native forest tree species along the Pelton Canal and Balam Park Connectors as part of efforts to green up the PCN. Pioneers of the Garden City vision, such as Mr S. Dhanabalan, former Minister of National Development, also commemorated the occasion by planting trees.
Some 5,500 trees will be planted across the island from 1 August to 31 October 2015 as part of the Clean and Green SG50. This NParks initiative will involve the community in greening up our City in a Garden during Singapore’s jubilee year, and highlight how greenery has become an integral part in our lives. An estimated 20,000 people will be involved in planting over 100 species of trees at more than 50 locations along parks, park connectors and Nature Ways.
Annex - Map showing PCN Loops and Map of Central Urban Loop