No cars in Circular Road on weekends?

OFFICE WORKERS' HAUNT: Non-profit organisation Singapore River One has proposed closing this stretch of Circular Road, between Lorong Telok and North Canal Road, to traffic every Friday and Saturday.


    Jul 30, 2013

    No cars in Circular Road on weekends?

    EXECUTIVES in the Central Business District (CBD) may soon have another spot to unwind without having to worry about traffic.

    Singapore River One (SRO), the non-profit organisation behind Boat Quay's management, told My Paper that it has submitted a proposal to various government agencies to close a 250m stretch of Circular Road to traffic on certain days of the week.

    These agencies include the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the Land Transport Authority and the Singapore Police Force.

    The Circular Road stretch, between Lorong Telok and North Canal Road, is home to pubs and eateries popular among office workers in the area.

    SRO said that the proposal was made after a meeting was called with stakeholders in Boat Quay and Circular Road on June 27.

    It proposed a six-month trial period when the road closure would take effect every Friday and Saturday - days when sales and footfall are typically the highest.

    SRO - which manages the entire Singapore River precinct, including Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay - hopes to start the trial in late September or early October, pending the authorities' approval.

    In the CBD, temporary road- closure arrangements in the evenings are already in place in Boon Tat Street, next to popular food centre Lau Pa Sat.

    SRO said that stakeholders who attended last month's meeting reported strong sales and footfall during a three-day St Patrick's Day Festival that it organised from March 15 to 17.

    During the festival, the same stretch of road was closed to traffic and almost 70 per cent of tenants surveyed reported "significant improvements in business volume".

    They estimated a business boost of between 15 and 75 per cent, compared to celebrations of previous years when there were no road closures, said SRO.

    Business operators along the stretch whom My Paper spoke to agreed that the road closure would be beneficial to their businesses.

    Mr Kevin Tan, 45, who owns organic deli Nothing But Green, said: "The management informed us that there would be less traffic and more room for people to walk."

    A senior manager at Cellarbration Tavern said that the bar enjoyed a 20 to 25 per cent increase in sales during the St Patrick's Day Festival this year.

    The 48-year-old, who gave his name only as Mr Bahtera, added that it would be better if the entire stretch of Circular Road was closed to traffic in order to benefit all businesses in the area.

    The proposed road closure is also welcomed by many who work in the CBD, such as bank executive Wu Jing Shen, 28, who enjoys relaxing at the pubs after work.

    He said: "People tend to drink heavily here on weekends and it is very easy for a drunk person to get knocked down by a car."

    However, sales executive Melissa Wong, 21, felt that the road closure may hinder, rather than assist, partygoers.

    She said: "It's quite a walk to the main road and it could be a challenge for intoxicated people to walk all the way out to flag a cab if the road is closed."