Now that I know that cycling from Bishan to Toa Payoh is feasible, the next target was to cycle from Bishan to Singapore Botanic Gardens. If I were to take cycling as a serious mode of commuting, this would be a route that I would frequently have to use. (No, I do not work at NParks.)
The planned route was: Bishan -> Upper Thomson Road -> Lornie Road -> Kheam Hock Road -> Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden (SBG) -> Cycle through SBG -> Food For Thought (at SBG’s Tanglin Gate) -> Cycle back to Kheam Hock Road via Cluny Road and Evans Road.
Parking is usually a pain in the ass. On our congested Singapore roads, this involves circling around for ages trying to find, in order or priority, free streetside parking, the cheapest coupon streetside parking nearest to your destination, any other available coupon parking, any maybe as a last resort, underground basement parking. After you’ve found a parking lot, it also takes a while to figure out how much to pay. Not super long, but still it involves some thinking. And you better make sure you read the sign correctly else you’ll end up with a summon.
This is one sign along Telok Ayer road opposite the Thian Hock Keng temple. I thought it was pretty confusing.
I was inspired by how Nikki Sylianteng redesigned the parking signs in NYC to be more visual and timechart-based (link here). How well would this concept work for Singapore?
Introducing the improved version of the Telok Ayer parking sign (designed on Microsoft PowerPoint!). The idea is simple: less words, more pictures, and diagrams that are arranged in a way that can help people better segment the information. I couldn’t resist adding in additional info on parking fines, it’s so characteristic of Singapore. Not kidding, the max fine is really $400, see here. But this is only if you try to be funny with the summon aunty.
As a disclaimer, I do drive in Singapore but only occasionally, hence paying for parking is a rare event. Nevertheless I think the improved signs can help drivers spend less time thinking about whether they can park, and how much to pay.
Some other before-and-after examples of parking signs that were improved:
So what do you think?
Ironically, I think that parking signs should be made as confusing as possible, so that people will be so frustrated that they switch to more sustainable transport modes such as public transit and cycling. Additionally, parking fees should also be hiked up and parking lots converted into bike parking for cyclists. It’s high time that we made better use of our road space and promote more active and clean forms of transportation. As such, I will be fairly contented if parking signs remain the way they are today.