Circular Road to go traffic-free, new tenants soon
CIRCULAR Road will soon be given a new lease of life when it becomes pedestrianised on weekend nights and gets a shake-up to its tenant mix to clean up its somewhat-sleazy image.
From next Friday, a 250m stretch of the road - located behind Boat Quay - will be closed to traffic from 6pm to 1am on Fridays and Saturdays, Mr Tyrone Tabing, the executive director of Singapore River One (SRO), told My Paper.
SRO had earlier submitted a proposal to various government agencies, including the Urban Redevelopment Authority, to pedestrianise the road.
The non-profit organisation was set up in August last year to breathe new life into the Singapore River district, including nearby Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay.
On the change in tenant mix, Mr Tabing said that over 30 of the current shophouse units in the area will get new tenants by the middle of next year, starting from next month.
Circular Road has garnered a reputation as a somewhat-sleazy area over the years, thanks to a proliferation of massage parlours and karaoke joints.
On this, Mr Tabing said: "Changing the calibre of retail goods in the area, and making the food-and-beverage offerings a little more diverse, will hopefully get rid of some of the (bad reputation)."
Nightlife operator Limited Edition Concepts - which runs The Vault in South Bridge Road and Club Kyo in Cecil Road - told My Paper that it will be taking over the majority of the units which will be changed out.
As for the move to pedestrianise the road on weekends, Mr Tabing said that it is intended to ease traffic congestion, make the road safer for patrons and increase footfall.
"The businesses in the area are very excited...about the potential to reposition Circular Road and create a new vibe," he said, adding that the changes to the road would also draw quality tenants in the future.
Tenants and patrons of the area welcomed the move.
Mr Martin McGettigan, the managing director of the newly opened Boomarang Bar & Bistro, said: "With all the traffic, there aren't enough loading areas for trucks (supplying the various outlets), so it causes them to park illegally on the streets.
"Pedestrianisation will give us more space and allow for more potential customers to walk by."
Business-development executive Agnes Yeap, 26, who works in the area, said she and her friends have been approached by men "for their prices" when passing some of the shadier pubs.
She said: "(People) think I work at (one of the) spas... I think cleaning up the area will be beneficial."
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SOON WEI SZE