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20051202 Friday December 02, 2005

Feedback submission - re: Singapore government discovers new urbanism

Feedback submission :

Low Ee Mien
2 Dec 2005

E1 Make Singapore a More Humane and Safer City

- In addition to roadside planting, also provide shade via trees or linkways where citizens must cross tracts of empty land to reach transport nodes (MRT stations / bus interchanges) - eg at Sengkang and Hougang MRT stations
- Investigate possibility of reducing commercial vehicle traffic by using existing rail system to convey freight, add additional "freight stations" at PSA and Tuas as necessary - issues of cost and point-to-point delivery - can existing network accommodate containerized cargo? The left lane of the AYE has become somewhat like a continuous chain of container trucks, could these be replaced by rail?
- Review the LTA COE 3% annual growth quota for motor vehicles - at 3%, the number of vehicles and demand for roads, carparks and other facilities will double in 24 years. Can the government double the width of the PIE or TPE, or build an entirely new set of "E's"? It cannot possibly "grow at 3% annually" forever.

E2 Singapore Can Be Self-Sufficient in Water

- Rework drainage systems to lead to designated reservoirs for collection and treatment
- Allow private homeowners (terrace, bungalows, etc) to collect rainwater, is this currently illegal or something?
- What about food? Flying in chickens from Brazil and shipping oranges from California hardly seems sustainable. Will the government support local agriculture? Have we learnt anything since the "eggs scare"?

E3 Link between Energy/Resource Usage and Environment

- More than 2/3 of electricity is from natural gas. NG will peak later than conventional crude oil but it will be more of a "falling-off-the-cliff" nature as opposed to oil's "bumpy plateau". What are the contingency plans before that happens (in 20-30 years' time)? Will Singapore have to go nuclear?
- Reduce and discourage excessive usage of glass in buildings - have we been building greenhouses in the name of "looks and fashion"?
- Investigate possible implementation of Domestic Tradable Quotas (DTQ's) such as the system proposed in the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) - which puts a dollar value on carbon emissions and lets the market work it out

T5 Bicycle policy neglect is not working

- Provision for bicycle parking is haphazard at major transport nodes, space-saving vertical racks should be constructed, chargeable via "season parking pass" if necessary
- Provide the same space-saving bicycle parking systems for new flats as well whether on per-unit basis or in a common area, currently people chain them to staircase railings or attempt to squeeze them into their storerooms/bomb shelters

T7 Traffic noise and its health impacts

- Ban large commercial vehicles (large lorries, coaches) from entering HDB precints - implement height restriction bars not only in multi-storey carparks but also service roads leading to these carparks
- Introduce and enforce anti-engine-idling regulations - idling vehicles create noise and emissions pollution, many times observed commercial vehicles idling away downstairs while the driver goes home to have dinner!

See also :

1. Singapore government discovers new urbanism

(2005-12-02 14:51:42 SGT) [Env] Permalink

CO2: This time it's personal

peakoil.com -> news.bbc.co.uk :

So you've filled your tank with petrol, wiped the bugs off your windscreen, and you're standing in the queue holding two pieces of plastic which will finalise the purchase. One card carries the logo of your bank; the other, a picture of a burning planet. The first will deduct money from your bank account; the second, credits from your carbon account. If you possess the second card, you are now living in DTQ world.

Domestic Tradable Quotas are in effect personal allowances to pollute. In Europe, about 12,000 big companies and institutions already have such allowances, regulated by the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Pollution has become a commodity with a price determined by the market, which will ensure that emissions are cut in as cost-effective a manner as possible. DTQs would simply extend this concept to the public.

Richard Starkey's DTQ scheme would entail each citizen receiving - free of charge - an identical personal carbon allowance. If you use less, you can sell your extra allowance onto the open market, while if you want to splurge out on that once-in-a-lifetime flight to Benidorm, you can save it up or buy extra. The more people exceed their allowance, the more expensive it would become to buy extra; and pretty much all goods and services with a "carbon cost" would need some carbon expenditure. But how, exactly, would it reduce emissions? Every year, the national allowance would be reduced towards a long-term target level; that would in turn reduce the personal allowance, and over time, emissions would fall.

None of which means, of course, that carbon cards will be coming to a wallet near you any time soon. Perhaps the biggest obstacle is the length of the vision - it is easy for governments to set long-term targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but it is not so easy for governments to establish long-term policy initiatives which will produce the year-on-year decrements needed to meet those targets.

See also :

1. Carbon market for airline, auto sectors
2. The Peak Oil Crisis: Rationing
3. Global warming: Carbon dioxide levels highest in 650,000 years

(2005-12-02 12:40:21 SGT) [Env] Permalink Comments [3]

Singapore government discovers new urbanism

Just got this in the e-mail. Looks like the Singapore government has discovered "new urbanism", moving away from planning for ever-expanding motor vehicle traffic to focus on walkable neighbourhoods and cycling. The Feedback Department is now collecting opinions on this from the citizenry.

This is quite interesting, especially from a peakoiler's perspective. Apparently, concerns about the environment, energy and resource usage are all part of this movement. Did somebody from gov.sg look up Jim Kunstler while they were at it?

feedback.gov.sg :

Between the transport issues (such as speed limit policy, pedestrian mobility, bicycle and motorcycle usage, traffic noises), environment issues (such as self sufficiency in water, energy and resource usage, a built urban city-state) and housing issues (such as safe spaces, bomb shelters, linkages, community spirit), the Physical Development Group has identified the common aspects of 'safety' and 'health'.

ENVIRONMENT

E1. Make Singapore a More Humane and Safer City
Singapore is a small city-state where movement of cars must be slowed down by reclaiming part of the land presently occupied by roads to reduce the road widths to make way for lanes for cyclists, roadside planting, making footpaths wider, and discouraging traffic intrusion in areas where it is not required. Optimise the use of the mass transportation network.

E2. Singapore Can Be Self-Sufficient in Water
The total annual rainfall in Singapore is 4 times its annual consumption. By way of a comprehensive network of inland reservoirs, underground reservoirs, coastal reservoirs, and off-shore reservoirs, it is more environmentally friendly to collect and conserve wholesome rainwater to enlarge the island's water resources.

E3. Link between Energy/Resource Usage and Environment
Energy used in generating electricity emits carbon dioxide which is the principal cause of global warming. And much of the electricity generated in Singapore is used to air-condition buildings. Singapore, set in the tropics, should thus capitalise on the inexhaustible source of solar power to air-condition our buildings instead of solely relying on electricity.

E4. City planning and Urban Built Environment
Urban planners should show greater consideration for people and pedestrians by providing a walkable and user-friendly built city with inter-connected buildings that shields from the tropical environment, or sky terraces utilized at lower levels to connect buildings and enhance safety, mobility and convenience of the public ... [continued]

(2005-12-02 11:09:57 SGT) [Env] Permalink

JDK 1.5.0_06 released

Get the "latest and greatest" Sun Java J2SE 5.0 JDK 1.5.0_06 here.

(2005-12-02 09:18:45 SGT) [Java] Permalink





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