Rail Corridor Ideas Competition: ALT Network
by Tan Sian Chong
Outside my window, the once-familiar railway tracks are gone, and a strange silence has replaced the rushing sounds of passing trains. Its absence brought about a sense of nostalgia, as I started pondering the possibilities for the future of the railway land. What could it be? How not to create a monstrosity in its place?
Under Malaysian ownership, the makeshift, zinc-roofed shacks and impromptu farms that had spawned along the railway line presented a alternative way of living – a striking contrast to the fast-paced developments around it. Alternative Land Transport Network is an initiative to re-adapt the railway corridor into the first route-based public space catered to sustainable personal transport modes such as bicycles, skates, electric powered wheel devices and future mobility technologies. The idea aims to work itself as a parallel development that establishes its own structure and grid. With the paradigm shift towards environment sustainability, the scale and operations of the cities (which revolves around current vehicular networks) could be layered with another that answers to enhancements in personal mobility.
With the green transport network as a starting point, the initiative is a spawning ground for the development of green communities surrounding the network, which in turn hopes to integrate the historical route into the current urban context and allow parallel, layered developments for the city. The intent is to support the current land transport network by offering new transport options, using the rail corridor as a route for cyclists and users of sustainable personal mobility transport. Linking the causeway to the city, and interlinking to all available MRT rail networks within its path, the corridor would be a convenient route for cyclists travelling north-south, with options for transfers to the MRT network to connect to other parts of the island.
Travelling amidst the untouched greenery with like-minded users, eco-communities can be spawned in this space – a platform to manifest ideals and lead the parallel development.♦
Sian Chong’s entry for the Rail Corridor Ideas Competition won an Honorable Mention under the “Extraordinary & Innovative Ideas for Great Public space” Category in March 2012.