First car-free Sunday launched

SIAU MING EN Today Online 28 Feb 16;

SINGAPORE — The roads around the Civic District and parts of the Central Business District were taken over by cyclists, joggers and pedestrians on Singapore’s first car-free Sunday (Feb 28).

The morning event was flagged off by the Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan and Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong outside the National Gallery Singapore slightly past 7am.

This also kicks off a six-month pilot by the Urban Redevelopment Authority to promote a “car-lite” lifestyle. Such car-free days will be held on the last Sunday of each month.

Roads around the Padang, together with Fullerton Road, were fully closed to vehicles from 7am to 9am.

St Andrew’s Road and part of Stamford Road will remain closed until 12pm while Connaught Drive will be closed until 7pm. Shenton Way and Robinson Road will also be partially closed, creating a car-free walking, running and cycling route of approximately 4.7km.

Bicycles are available for rent at Connaught Drive, for people to cycle along the car-free route.

Various activities are also organised along the 4.7km route, including an outdoor yoga session at the Esplanade Park and an area for members to try their hand at various sports such as three-a-side basketball and mini tennis at the Padang.

Food trucks will also be parked along Connaught Drive till 7pm and some people were seen having a picnic at the Empress Lawn.

The National Gallery Singapore, Asian Civilisations Museum and the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall also adjusted their opening hours to open at 9am.


Car-free in the city
Benson Ang THE STRAITS TIMES AsiaOne 27 Feb 16;

On Sunday evening, Ms Cheong Mei Yan, 24, will be doing yoga in a mass outdoor session at the Esplanade Park.

And, unlike on a typical weekday, she will not see busy executives hurrying through the park or hear the noise of traffic.

Sunday is the first Car-Free Sunday SG, where the Civic District and parts of the Central Business District (CBD) will be closed to traffic. The initiative is part of a move towards a car-lite Singapore.

The car-free day will take place on the last Sunday of every month till July. The roads that will be closed include a stretch of Fullerton Road - from Connaught Drive to Maxwell Road - Robinson Road and Connaught Drive.

The roads will be given over to walkers, joggers and cyclists.

The mass yoga session is among a slew of activities - most are free - lined up for that day to liven up the Civic District and parts of the CBD, which is usually deserted on weekends.

Ms Cheong, an assistant e-marketing manager, says: "I like doing yoga outdoors because the air is fresh. With the noisy cars gone, I'm sure it will be easier to relax and focus.

"Doing yoga in an iconic park, surrounded by many of Singapore's historical landmarks, will also be an experience. Going car-free is beneficial to the environment and I'm sure the activities will be fun."

Her mother, a 58-year-old freelance personal trainer, will join her at the free session.

Mr Woon Taiwoon, 40, co-founder of cycling group Love Cycling SG, will lead a group of cyclists in a mass walking, jogging and cycling session from 7 to 9am.

More than 60 people have signed up, but he is open to others joining them during the event.

He says: "We will be cycling at a leisurely pace, so those on rollerblades and skateboards, as well as those cycling with family members or have pets with them, can join us.

"This meaningful event makes the city more liveable and is a pleasant way to experience the city."

Other activities include walking tours, street performances and concerts.

There will be a breakfast picnic and night stalls selling local fare. Several eateries will also open earlier to cater to the morning crowd.

Exercise

MASS WALKING, JOGGING AND CYCLING SESSION

This will take place along a 4.7km route, including stretches along Shenton Way and Robinson Road. It will be flagged off by Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, who is also Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure, and National Development minister Lawrence Wong.

Where: Flag-off in front of National Gallery Singapore

When: 7 to 9am

Admission: Free, no registration needed

Info: ura.sg/carfreesundaysg

AEROBIC-INFUSED MIXED DANCE FITNESS WORKOUTS

The Health Promotion Board and Sport Singapore will jointly organise free sessions in the morning for zumba (11/2 hours), piloxing (45 minutes) and KpopX fitness (45 minutes) at the Empress Lawn, in front of the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall.

The health board will also organise hour-long zumba and Bollyrobics sessions in the evening at Connaught Drive.

Where: Empress Lawn (morning sessions); Connaught Drive (evening sessions)

When:7.30am (zumba), 9am (piloxing) and 9.45am (KpopX fitness); 5pm (zumba) and 6pm (Bollyrobics)

Admission: Free,no registration needed

Info: ura.sg/carfreesundaysg

YOGA SESSIONS

Yoga company Yoga Seeds will hold two hour-long sessions - in the morning and in the evening.

Where: Esplanade Park

When: 7.30am (hatha yoga) and 5.30pm (sunset yoga flow)

Admission: Free, registration is encouraged

Info: To register, go to carfreesundayyoga.eventbrite.sg

MODIFIED VERSIONS OF POPULAR SPORTS

You can play basketball, football, mini tennis and traditional sports such as chaptek for free.

Ex-national football stars Aleksandar Duric and T. Pathmanathan will be present to conduct football activities for children.

Where: Esplanade Park, the Padang and Empress Lawn

When: 7am to noon

Admission: Free, no registration needed

Info: ura.sg/carfreesundaysg

CYCLING

Cycling group Love Cycling SG is organising a bike-to-work buddy initiative to encourage experienced riders to cycle from three heartland locations - Kembangan, Clementi and Bishan-to the event.

The Bishan group is starting at the McDonald's outlet in Bishan Park. It will not accept any more participants.

The other two groups will start at Kembangan and Clementi MRT stations.

All three groups hope to reach the Padang by 8.10am.

Bicycles can be rented from bike rental companies listed on ura.sg/carfreesundaysg.

Rollerblades, unicycles, wheelchairs, prams and kateboards are also allowed on the roads, but not motorised transportation devices, such as hoverboards, e-bikes and Segways.

Where: Kembangan and Clementi MRTstations

When: 7am

Admission: Free with registration

Info:To register, go to www.facebook.com/groups/lovecyclingsg/events

Family-friendly fun

ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS

Children can enjoy origami, sketching and plant propagation activities.

Where: Esplanade Park

When: 7am to 7pm

Admission: Free

Info: ura.sg/carfreesundaysg

SCAVENGER HUNT

Organised by the Land Transport Authority, participants are encouraged to look out for five posters along the route around the Padang and within the CBD.

They are asked to take photos with these posters and share the photos on Instagram with the hashtag #walkcyclerideCBD.

After they have found all the posters, they can go to the organiser's booth in Connaught Drive to claim a prize.

Participants do not need to form groups, but are welcome to take part in the activity with their families and friends.

Where: Throughout the CBD

When: 7am to noon

Admission: Free, no registration required

Info: ura.sg/carfreesundaysg

Pamper yourself

SPA TREATMENT

The Fullerton Spa in The Fullerton Hotel has introduced two new spa packages to coincide with Car-Free Sunday .

Its Back To Mile Zero treatment refreshes and supports tired feet with a specially selected combination of essential oils.

The 45-minute session costs $80, which is the usual price for a 30-minute treatment.

There is also the Post Office treatment to relieve stress in the back, shoulders, arms and head, using de-stress muscle gel and de-stress massage oil infused with rosemary, lavender, black pepper and ginger. The 60-minute treatment costs $128.

The packages will still be available at the spa after Sunday.

Where: The Fullerton Spa, 1 Fullerton Square, The Fullerton Hotel

When: 10am to 10pm

Prices: $80 (Back ToMile Zero) and $128 (Post Office)

Info: To book, call 6877-8182 or e-mail thefullertonspa@fullertonhotel.com

Eat

BREAKFAST@EMPRESS

Stalls set up at the Empress Lawn will sell local delights such as roti prata, nasi lemak and mee rebus.

Where: Empress Lawn

When: 7am to noon

Admission: Free, pay for food

Info: ura.sg/carfreesundaysg

FOOD TRUCKS

A truck from The Travelling C.O.W., which has a cafe at CT Hub in Kallang Avenue, will sell seafood laksa pasta ($8), chilli crab nachos ($6) and mini burgers ($6).

Another truck from Coffee Bandits will sell its speciality coffees ($4.50 to $6), coney dogs ($6) and nachos with cheese sauce ($5).

This truck can be found at SLF Building in Thomson Road on Thursdays and at Fusionopolis 1 near One-North MRT station on Fridays.

Where: Connaught Drive

When: 8am to 7pm

Admission: Free, pay for food

Info: thetravellingcow.com, coffeebandits.sg

NATIONAL GALLERY

Two of its eateries will open earlier. Padang Cafe, which opened three weeks ago, serves dishes such as rendang chicken-spiced sandwiches and veggie quiches. It will open 11/2 hours earlier at 8am.

The Gallery & Co museum store, which houses a cafeteria and bar, will open an hour earlier at 9am. It will have two promotions on Sunday. Customers get a free non-alcoholic drink if they spend $25 or more at the store and those who buy a beef brisket and kimchi burger can top up $5 for a bottle of Asahi beer (usual price $10) or $10 for a bottle of craft beer (usual price $16).

The store's marketing manager, Ms Cheryl Ho, 31, says: "We are introducing these promotions to catch some of the crowd on Car-Free Sunday. Hopefully, they will join us for lunch and maybe stay on after that. This area is usually a little quiet on Sunday mornings, but we hope many more will show up this Sunday."

Padang Cafe

Where: 1 Saint Andrew's Road, National Gallery Singapore

When: 8am to 5pm

Gallery & Co

Where: 1 Saint Andrew's Road, National Gallery Singapore, City Hall Wing, 01-05

When: 9am to 10pm

Info: www.nationalgallery.sg/ see-do/shopping-and-dining

ASIAN CIVILISATIONS MUSEUM

The Prive cafe, which serves items such as eggs Benedict, home-style buttermilk pancakes and its signature wagyu beef burger, will open an hour earlier at 8am. The cafe offers a 10 per cent discount to museumv isitors.

Empress restaurant, which serves Chinese cuisine such as its triple roast platter of char siew, crackling roast pork and sweet and sticky pork ribs, will open as usual.

Prive ACM

Where: 1 Empress Place, 01-02

When: 8am to 10.30pm

Info: www.priveacm.com.sg

Empress

Where: 1 Empress Place, 01-03

When: 11.30am to 3pm, 6 to 11pm

Info: www.empress.com.sg

FULLERTON BAY HOTEL

The Clifford Pier restaurant will serve a heritage dim sum brunch, with classics such as steamed siew mai with tobiko roe, steamed pork ribs in fermented black bean sauce and steamed custard buns.

The brunch spread also consists of hearty local delights such as Nonya popiah, kueh pie tee, laksa with tiger prawns, fried carrot cake, Hainanese chicken rice, soup kambing and rickshaw noodles with braised pork belly.

Where: 80 Collyer Quay

When: 11.30am to 2.30pm

Admission: $48 (adult), $24 (child)

Info: www.fullertonbayhotel.com/dining/the-clifford-pier

COSTA COFFEE

Its outlets in the Central Business District will open on Sunday as usual.

Where: 30 Raffles Place, Chevron House, 01-37; 252 North Bridge Road, Raffles City, 01-45; 35 Robinson Road, Sofitel So, 01-05

When: Various timings, go to www.costacoffee.com.sg

SATAY NIGHT LIVE

This is the only pre-event activity and takes place tomorrow instead of on Sunday.

Feast on satay and other local fare while enjoying performances by home-grown live bands Jack & Rai and Jive Talkin'.

A song request station will take requests from the audience.

Where: Empress Lawn

When: Tomorrow, 6 to 10.30pm

Admission: Performances are free, pay for food

Info: ura.sg/carfreesundaysg

Cultural activities

VICTORIA THEATRE AND CONCERT HALL

It will open at 7am, three hours earlier than usual. Performances on Sunday include a play by Pangdemonium, The Effect, a psycho-romantic comedy-drama about a beautiful psychology student and a charming slacker who are "guinea pigs" in an experiment.

Classical music concert Dohanyi & Shostakovich will also take place at the Victoria Concert Hall.

The Effect

Where: 9 Empress Place, Victoria Theatre

When: 3pm

Admission: Tickets at $40, $50 and $60from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg)

Dohanyi & Shostakovich

Where: Victoria Concert Hall

When: 4pm

Admission: Tickets at $20 from Sistic

NATIONAL GALLERY SINGAPORE

It will open an hour earlier at 9am. Do not miss two new exhibitions, A Fact Has No Appearance: Art Beyond The Object, which opened last month and investigates the impact of new ideas on South-east Asian art in the 1970s; and Earth Work 1979, which recreates an original 1980 exhibition by Singapore artist Tang Da Wu.

Where: 1 Saint Andrew's Road, 01-01

When: 9am to 7pm

Admission: Free for Singaporeans and permanent residents, $20 for non-Singaporeans

Info: www.nationalgallery.sg

BUILDING HIGHLIGHTS TOUR

The one-hour tour is conducted by docents from the National Gallery Singapore and covers highlights of the building's facade, including stories of the friezes and tympanum. There is also a brief introduction of the Civil District and the gallery.

Where: Meet outside the gallery's Padang Atrium entrance

When: 9.30 and 9.45am (English); 10am(Mandarin)

Admission: Free, no registration required

Info: www.nationalgallery.sg/ about/news/press-room/ car-free-sunday-2016

ASIAN CIVILISATIONS MUSEUM

It will open at 9am, an hour earlier than usual. Check out the museum's new galleries, which opened in November.

The Khoo Teck Puat Gallery, for example, houses the famous Tang Shipwreck Collection - a virtual time capsule of treasures from 9th century China that was discovered in 1998.

The new Kwek Hong Png Wing has a Scholar in Chinese Culture Gallery, which focuses on objects associated with revered Chinese scholars, as well as the courts of emperors and merchants who sought to emulate them.

Where: 1 Empress Place

When: 9am to 7pm

Admission: Free for Singaporeans, permanent residents and children aged six and younger; $8 for others

Info: acm.org.sg

STREET PERFORMANCES

Performers such as lion dancers, stilt walkers, martial arts performers, Chinese drummers, instrumentalists, mime artists and balloon sculptors will take to the streets.

Where: Connaught Drive, Esplanade Park and Empress Place

When: 9am to 6pm

Admission: Free

Info: www.nparks.gov.sg/civicdistrictevents

MONUMENT TRAIL

Conducted by NParks, this 11/2-hour guided tour features historical landmarks as well as heritage and interesting trees in the Civic District. The tour starts at Cavenagh Bridge, near the mouth of the Singapore River, which was once the heart of Singapore's commercial activity and entrepot trade. It goes through Empress Place and Esplanade Park before ending at the War Memorial Park.

Where: Meet at the entrance of Cavenagh Bridge on the side of the Asian Civilisations Museum

When: 10 and 11.30am and 4pm

Admission: Free, no registration needed

Info: www.nparks.gov.sg/civicdistrictevents

FULLERTON MONUMENT TOUR

Organised by The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, this hour-long tour takes participants to discover the history of the former Fullerton building, now The Fullerton Hotel, which has been gazetted as Singapore's 71st national monument.

Limited to 20 people, the tour ends with a local breakfast experience, which includes kaya toast, soft-boiled eggs, soya bean milk and local coffee, at the hotel's Post Bar.

Where: Meet at The Fullerton Hotel's concierge

When: 8 to 11am

Admission: $18 (adult), $9 (child); registration is required

Info: peatix.com/event/150041


Car-free Sundays a hit, could be expanded
SIAU MING EN Today Online 29 Feb 16;

SINGAPORE — Car-free events could get bigger and be set up more frequently or in more places — even in the heartlands — said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong on Sunday (Feb 28), as he urged for attitudes to shift towards viewing such initiatives as a way of creating public spaces for people to enjoy.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the first car-free Sunday held in the Civic District and parts of the Central Business District yesterday, the largest such event to date, which attracted thousands who turned up to exercise, feast and relax with friends and family.

It was the first in a six-month pilot to drive a “car-lite” culture here, in which traffic is shut out to create a walking, running and cycling route of approximately 4.7km in the city centre and where various activities such as an arts zone for children, food trucks and historical walking trails are held. The event is scheduled for the last Sunday of each month.

Mr Wong said if response in subsequent editions “gets even better” than the encouraging turnout on Sunday, the event could be expanded to a larger area or be held more regularly. He added that some places could even be converted into permanent car-free zones eventually, provided the public buys into the idea.

“It’s a conversation that needs to be done with the different stakeholders, we can’t just close off the road without support from the different stakeholders,” he said.

“Once people get used to the idea that closing off roads is not just preventing cars from using the roads, but creating more public spaces for Singaporeans and for people to enjoy, they (will) see the positive side of it. I hope that then it will bring about a change of mindset that being car-lite is not just a negative thing, it’s not just reducing car usage; but it’s a positive thing, we are gaining something from it.”

Over the years, the number of streets that are periodically closed to traffic has grown. Club Street, Circular Road and Haji Lane are among the locations holding such events.

Those who attended Sunday’s event praised it for standing out, noting that there was a wide variety of activities to keep them occupied and gave families a chance to come together on a Sunday morning.

Cyclists, in-line skaters and those on kick-scooters zipped along several closed roads, including St Andrew’s Road, Fullerton Road and Shenton Way; yogis gathered for an outdoor workout at Esplanade Park, and young and old partook in aerobic and dance workouts at Empress Lawn. Nearby, sports enthusiasts tried their hand at games, including mini-tennis and touch rugby.

Others tucked into breakfast fare served up from two food trucks parked along Connaught Drive or sold by vendors near Empress Lawn. The Kids’ Zone at Esplanade Park was also packed with young families, as children flocked to the bouncing castles and participated in the origami and sketching activities.

“I always like to come for such carnivals and this one has quite a nice ambience for everybody to enjoy on a Sunday morning. And it’s a good (event) to get people out (of their houses),” said pre-school educator Iris Lim, 42.

Cyclists were also particularly supportive of the event, as co-founder of interest group Love Cycling SG, Woon Tai Woon, pointed out that nearly 400 members from their group turned up. Most of them started their journey from Bishan, Kembangan and Clementi MRT stations. “There has been an awesome (turnout) ... it shows the possibilities of (having) a car-free area,” said the 41-year-old, adding that he hopes to see such car-free areas being extended into the heartlands.

Student Reno Tan, 16, who volunteered as a road marshall for the event, said everyone was considerate, whether they were cyclists, joggers or in-line skaters using the car-free routes.

Some participants, however, suggested for the event to start later than the 7am flag-off yesterday so that they would not have to start making their way to the area so early. Others hoped the event could be extended to a full day.

To create a more vibrant atmosphere for these car-free Sundays, Mr Wong said there needs to be a “good combination” of an exciting line-up of programmes and space for ground-up activities.

The next car-free Sunday will be on March 27, with activities yet to be announced. But an Urban Redevelopment Authority spokesperson said the focus will continue to be on community and family-friendly activities.


Car-Free Sundays may be expanded depending on response: Lawrence Wong
Olivia Siong, Channel NewsAsia 28 Feb 16;

SINGAPORE: The Car-Free Sunday initiative could expand to a bigger area and potentially continue beyond its six-month pilot, if response from the public gets "even better", said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.

Such car-free days could also possibly be organised more regularly – more than once a month, Mr Wong added.

On Sunday (Feb 28), a few thousand cyclists, joggers and walkers took over the roads in the Civic District and the Central Business District on the first Car-Free Sunday.

Speaking to the media after a bicycle ride around the 4.7-km car-free route, Mr Wong said this was a "very encouraging start".

The pilot initiative will see roads in the Civic District closed to vehicles every last Sunday of the month for six months.

From 7am to 9am, the roads around the Padang – St Andrew's Road, Stamford Road and Connaught Drive – together with Fullerton Road will be fully closed to vehicles, while Shenton Way and Robinson Road will be partially closed.

St Andrew's Road and part of Stamford Road will be closed until 12pm while Connaught Drive will remain closed until 7pm.

Activities ranging from fitness group exercises to a breakfast picnic session were held at various public spaces in the vicinity.

"It's really to get people used to the mindset that streets and the roads can be free of cars. It's not just about closing off the roads, but the streets can be full of programming we can enjoy. We can walk, we can cycle, we can come together," said Mr Wong.

"I think once people get used to the idea that closing off roads is not just preventing cars from using the roads but creating more public spaces for Singaporeans and for people to enjoy, they see the positive side of it. I hope it will bring about a change of mindset that being car-lite is not just a negative thing. It's not just reducing car usage, but it's a positive thing – we are gaining something from it."

But Mr Wong stressed that for the car-free initiative to expand, there will be certain trade-offs and inconveniences, and will require support from stakeholders.

"If there are stakeholders, for example, that run businesses along a particular street and all of them are supportive of closing that street on a weekend, we will be very happy to facilitate (the closing of) any street in Singapore. So that's something that's progressing," said Mr Wong.

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