• Cars and Coffee Singapore

Car-Free Sunday to stretch over 3 days

Last held in July, event returns in extended form this weekend; vibrant line-up planned.

People doodling on the road at the "Walk the Chalk" event in Telok Ayer Street during Car-Free Sunday SG in May. This weekend, visitors can try manoeuvring a pedal go-kart around Telok Ayer and the Central Business District.PHOTO: LIN ZHAOWEI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

The Car-Free Sunday event will stretch over three days this month to allow more to experience parts of the city centre unclogged by traffic, with Singapore's first Car-Free Weekend event.

It began in February 2016, as part of a six-month trial in line with the Republic's car-lite initiatives. It has since become a regular affair.

Last held in July, Car-Free Sunday is usually held on the last Sunday of the month. This time, the event will start on Friday, with the closure of Telok Ayer Street and Amoy Street between 11am and 3pm.

Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) chief executive officer Lim Eng Hwee said: "With the support from our network of partners, we have a full line-up of very interesting programmes over three days, transforming the streets and public spaces in the Civic District and Telok Ayer Conservation Area into vibrant activity hubs."

Car-free days are gaining popularity globally, with cities like Jakarta and Paris holding such events regularly as part of efforts to reduce congestion and improve air quality.

When asked if future iterations of the event would also stretch over a weekend, a URA spokesman said: "We are reviewing the plans for Car-Free Sunday SG, including its format, venue and frequency, and will share the plans when ready."

In April, one-north held the first Car-Free Sunday SG event outside the Civic District and Telok Ayer area, and drew about 3,000 people.

On Friday, there will be guided tours of Thian Hock Keng Temple, while landmarks such as the Singapore Yu Huang Gong and Nagore Dargah Indian Muslim Heritage Centre will be open to visitors.

On Saturday evening, Anderson Bridge and Connaught Drive in the Civic District, as well as parts of the Telok Ayer Conservation Area such as McCallum Street and Boon Tat Street, will be closed to traffic.

The third Parks Festival, organised by the National Parks Board (NParks), will run from 5pm to 11pm on Saturday at Esplanade Park and Empress Lawn.

It will feature food trucks along Fullerton Road, a pet lovers' corner and live music with the Live Out Loud: Battle of the Bands programme as well as the 10th instalment of NParks' concert series Rockestra, with bands such as Enigma and Jive Talkin'.

On Sunday morning, 5.5km of roads in the Civic and Central Business districts, as well as the Telok Ayer Conservation Area, will be closed to traffic between 8am and noon, allowing members of the public to roam around the area freely.

Between 9am and 11am, visitors can also try manoeuvring a pedal go-kart around Telok Ayer and the CBD. There will be a dance carnival, Got To Move Spotlight, organised by the National Arts Council. There will also be bike rentals, as well as outdoor yoga and sports events.

Mr Haja Moinudeen, who has been to three Car-Free Sundays, said stretching the event over three days was a great idea as more people could take part in the activities.

"It also means that those who are not inclined to wake up early on a Sunday can take part," said the 40-year-old events manager.

For more details on the event, go to http://ura.sg/carfreesundaysg

Source: Straits Times

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