SINGAPORE: Singapore's Gardens by the Bay will be joined to East Coast Park, creating the country's longest continuous stretch of coastal parkland - from the island's north-east to south-central Singapore.
Construction works to link the two are expected to start in late-2013 and finish in end-2014.
The National Parks Board is now studying details of how to bring the two major green spaces closer.
The Eastern Coastal Loop of park connectors currently lets residents in Simei, Bedok, Tampines and Pasir Ris, among other estates, access East Coast Park on bicycle or on foot. When the park is joined to Gardens by the Bay's East section, they can cycle, stroll, or jog to the attraction without using public roads.
Starting from Changi Beach Park, they can cycle through the Coastal Park Connector to East Coast Park, and head to the Bay East Garden of Gardens by the Bay via the new link.
This route measures over 25 km and at more than half the island's length, makes it the country's longest sweep of park space along the coast.
From the Bay East Garden, people can already access the Bay South Garden, where the two cooled conservatories and Supertrees are, by crossing the Marina Barrage at the mouth of the Marina Reservoir.
People can also head to the future Sports Hub from Bay East, by using the Tanjong Rhu Promenade Park Connector, and crossing the Tanjong Rhu suspension bridge.
Construction on the Marina Coastal Expressway is currently being carried out and are set to be completed by end-2013. After that, works to link Gardens by the Bay and East Coast Park will start.
Associate Professor Tan Puay Yok of the Architecture Department at the School of Design and Environment with the National University of Singapore, said: "The terrain itself is not very challenging, I think it's a fairly easy site to work with. And the fact that Singapore has already a fairly large, extensive network of park connectors, means that the design intention, design considerations could be followed for this site."
Currently, cyclists who wish to access Gardens by the Bay from East Coast Park have to exit the park from near the western end of the park along East Coast Park Service Road, and head onto public roads. This will not be necessary anymore when the two green spaces are finally linked.
19-year-old polytechnic student Chang Teck, who is an avid cyclist, is happy with the new link.
He said: "It will be more safe for cyclists like me. Because we don't have to go on the roads and look out for cars...and follow the traffic rules. [With the] straight path to the Gardens by the Bay, we can have a longer route, we can have more recreational activities for cyclists, we can cycle a longer path."
Joining both green spaces also opens up possible new routes for the many organised runs taking place yearly around downtown Singapore.
The National Parks Board's long-term goal is to create a Singapore-wide park connector network, linking up the whole of the island.
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