World’s Best in Cycling Establishments
Westwood Residences named among top global cycling-friendly projects.
According to Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, three in four commuters are expected to choose public transport as their main mode of travel by 2030. To realise Singapore’s vision of a “car-lite” city, the Government will be investing a projected S$36 billion in public transport expenditure over the next 5 years.
As the local authorities support this shift by making it much easier to walk and cycle in Singapore, it is to no surprise that leading local developers are already incorporating various aspects of active mobility modes and viable transport options such as bicycles and electric scooters into their property development plans.
Leading the charge towards Singapore’s new active transportation frontier is Westwood Residences.
Due for completion in 2017, Westwood Residences has been cited amongst nine other international real estate developments in the report – Active Transportation and Real Estate: The Next Frontier by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) as one of the premier developments that distinctly seeks to improve the health of its occupants and communities through focused real estate design and facilities development.
A 480-unit executive condominium (EC) property project located in Jurong, Westwood Residences is unanimously considered as the first ever bike-themed development in Singapore. As many home-seekers are aware, ECs are a type of housing built and sold by private developers locally, but feature price points lower than market rates due to government subsidies. These hybrid public/private housing units have strict income levels for buyers and cannot be sold or rented for five years after owners take possession.
Developed by Koh Brothers and Heeton Holdings, the 99-year leasehold project will feature a mini velodrome and a bicycle garage that can house 500 bicycles, secured by a biometrics system. Spending upwards of SGD$1.5 million on the project’s active transportation–themed offerings, the developers decided on providing bike-friendly amenities for prospective residents in order to establish a niche in the highly competitive Singapore property market. Anticipating the bicycle boom that is already taking place in Singapore, Westwood Residences is very much about people choosing a lifestyle that gives them more options and requires less dependence on motor vehicles.
Danny Low, Heeton Holdings’ chief operating officer and executive director, explains the rationale behind Westwood Residences’ bike theme, stating, “In today’s challenging operating environment, it is vital to inject unique attributes to differentiate our developments to increasingly discerning and demanding buyers in the EC market.” Low adds, “The introduction of a bike-themed development is well timed as the government intends to build more parks in the vicinity. On top of this, we will also be well poised to capitalise on the trend of more people seeking an active and healthy lifestyle.”
Making the Cut for Active Transportation–Friendly Features
Westwood Residences will include a number of features to accommodate bicycling for recreation and transportation purposes, including the following:
Bicycle storage. A facility with space to park 500 bikes will be included in the development and will feature closed-circuit television and biometric scanning to ensure that bicycles are secure.
Bike workroom. A maintenance facility for residents will include tools, tire pumps, air compressors, bike racks, and repair stands.
Bike washing area. The bicycle maintenance room will feature a dedicated area for residents to clean bikes.
Bicycle velodrome. Residents will have access to an outdoor oval-shaped bike racing track.
On-site bicycle trail. A bicycle trail will connect cyclists to parks and the burgeoning local network of trails.
BMX bike park. The development will feature a track for youth to practice BMX skills and stunts.
In-line with the Government’s Cycling Infrastructure Initiatives
As Singapore is consistently building a robust bicycle infrastructure to reduce automobile traffic and increase active transportation opportunities for its population, Westwood Residences is set to be a unique product for the Singapore EC market due to its bike-friendly design and location near a growing network of commuting trails.
In 2011, only 1 percent of all trips in Singapore were by bicycle, but the government has since set to increase this figure by creating safer and more convenient bike routes. As of 2016, Singapore has more than 230 km of bike paths, with further plans to increase that figure to 700 km by year 2030.
The recognition and success of Westwood Residences relative to that of other ECs will provide invaluable lessons on the market viability of including bike-friendly amenities in local development projects, as Singapore’s active transportation infrastructure network continues to expand.