Parts of the Civic District and Central Business District (CBD) will be closed from traffic on the last Sunday of each month for six months, starting from 28 February next year. This comes under a pilot initiative, “Car-Free Sunday” by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) to close roads for cycling, jogging and walking.
The proposed route is 4.7km long, comprising full road closures around the Padang and partial road closures along Fullerton Road, Shenton Way and Robinson Road. The partial road closures will be on the right side of the road to minimise disruption to any bus services or bus stops.
The roads will be closed from 7am to 9am on the Sunday mornings, after which parts of Connaught Drive and St Andrew’s Road shall remain closed until 12pm to allow people to walk around the activity zones around the Padang.
URA described this pilot initiative in a tender document as an initiative to promote active lifestyles and enhance liveability in the city just like similar initiatives around the world. The tender called for event management companies to close roads for cycling and public enjoyment.
According to URA, National Parks Board, the Health Promotion Board and SportSG will organise community and mass exercise activities at Esplanade Park and Empress Lawn in conjunction with the road closure event, which will be free to the public.
The initiative will be started on a smaller scale and grown incrementally over the course of six months, allowing motorists and the general public time to adjust to the road closures. This initiative might be extended to other roads in the vicinity if it is deemed successful.
Car Free days are now becoming a common practice in major cities around the world, encouraging motorists to give up their cars for a day.
One such example is Paris, France that instituted its first car-free day this year and carried out on 27 September, banning most vehicles from the central part of the city and allowing people to stroll, cycle or skate from the Arc de Triomphe to Place de la Bastille.
Another example from the region is Jakarta, Indonesia. Since May 2012, Car-Free Day is held every Sunday from 6am to 11am. Authorities estimate at least 100,000 people gather at the road closure for activities.