Car-Free Sunday returns for second run

The car-free stretch was expanded this time to include Esplanade Drive, forming a 5-km route, together with St Andrew's Road, Stamford Road, Fullerton Road, Shenton Way and Robinson Road.
Olivia Siong, Channel NewsAsia 27 Mar 16;

SINGAPORE: Cyclists, walkers and joggers took to the roads yet again as Singapore's Car-Free Sunday returned for its second run on Sunday (Mar 27).

Under the initiative, which takes place every last Sunday of the month, roads in the Civic District and parts of the Central Business District are closed to traffic.

The car-free stretch was expanded this time to include Esplanade Drive, forming a 5-km route, together with St Andrew's Road, Stamford Road, Fullerton Road, Shenton Way and Robinson Road. The previous route was about 4.7-km long.

In response to public feedback, the roads were also closed at a later time and for a longer duration - from 7.30am to 10am, instead of 7am to 9am.

This time, participants were also allowed on personal mobility devices like electric scooters and hoverboards.

Family-friendly activities like sports and fitness sessions were also organised in the vicinity.

The car-free initiative is part of a six-month pilot, which started in February. Authorities have said the initiative may be expanded if the response from the public is good.

- CNA/cy


‘Smaller turnout’, but more activities, longer routes at second car-free Sunday
KENNETH CHENG Today Online 28 Mar 16;

SINGAPORE — Completing a loop around the civic district, electric unicyclists zigzagged gracefully along St Andrew’s Road, which fronts the National Gallery Singapore, joining cyclists, runners and pedestrians who showed up in droves yesterday for the second car-free Sunday SG.

In a departure from the inaugural edition on Feb 28, personal mobility devices were allowed in the latest instalment.

And their users, who turned up in modest numbers on the roads around the civic district and parts of the Central Business District, said they welcomed the inclusion of the devices.

Mr Edmund Lim, 40, who gathered about 30 electric unicyclists from enthusiast group The Wheelies for the event, said he was happy to have been able to share the roads with different users.

“(We) rarely get a chance to do this, to (ride) on the road openly,” said the regional sales manager, adding that safety precautions taken by the riders included refraining from overtaking and slowing down in areas with high pedestrian traffic.

Full-time national serviceman James Low, 19, who brought his battery-powered electric scooter, said riding in the city centre was a “nice experience”, as he could test his scooter’s performance, while keeping a safe distance from cyclists and joggers.

Elsewhere at the event, 25 yogis, armed with mats of various hues, enjoyed a yoga session in air-conditioned comfort in the basement concourse of the National Gallery.

Over at Esplanade Drive, frisbees glided through the air, and at nearby Connaught Drive, children swung tennis racquets as they tried their hand at the sport.

Some second-timers noted a smaller turnout than at last month’s event, although authorities said participants still numbered in the “thousands” yesterday.

“(There’s) less of a crowd, but the number of cyclists (is) still maintained,” said Ms Sharon Yeo, 36.

Mother-of-four Sandra Loh, 40, said the event exceeded her expectations with its wide repertoire of activities. “They actually cater to all ages, (there’s) something for everyone to participate in,” she said.

Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim, who kicked off the event, said he hoped more Singaporeans will embrace car-free Sundays as a “monthly ritual” as they enjoy the open spaces and stay active.

But a lot more could be done, he noted. More community groups, for example, could be mobilised.

Dog owners could be encouraged to walk their dogs and participate in a dog run. The elderly could also join in the activities.

Dr Yaacob added that he has asked his grassroots leaders to involve his residents from Jalan Besar GRC in next month’s car-free Sunday.

On the inconvenience that the event might bring, Dr Yaacob said some “messiness” had to be tolerated: “We saw some challenges just now between the cyclists, the roller-bladers and the pedestrians ... (but) by and large Singaporeans respect one another.

“This is a wonderful occasion, especially for the young, to build the instincts to share spaces together with (different users), and I think that’s important.”

This second instalment in a six-month pilot initiative to promote a “car-lite” culture here featured extended hours and a longer walking, running and cycling route.

With the addition of Esplanade Drive, the route spanned five kilometres, up from around 4.7 km the last time. Roads were closed to traffic from 7.30am to 10am, instead of the 7-to-9am period previously. The next car-free Sunday will be on April 24. KENNETH CHENG

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