Yesterday, the first Car Free Sunday took place in Singapore.
This was a pilot initiative with the eventual aim of transforming Singapore into a car-lite country – with about 4.7km of roads around the Singapore Central Business District (CBD) having been closed off to cars yesterday morning.
This had meant that runners, cyclists and other pedestrians could use the roads freely.
Felt like he and his friends owned the roads
Those who had been present at the event, had a fabulous time. Said Liu ZhiYong, 32, a Running Trainer, “We felt that we owned the roads while running down Shenton Way, chatting away with friends. This experience was previously only made available at race events.”
Agreed Doris Teo, a Public Servant, “Being able to run in the CBD area at a slow pace to have a better view of the surrounding buildings is something that we do not get to experience on normal days. It is always an awesome feeling to run past the Padang as this brings back memories of my Standard Chartered Marathon races.”In fact, for Nielsen Ho, 49, a Purchaser, the Car Free Day made him feel as though he had just completed an actual running race.
He explained, “I had joined in a 7km group fun run which ended at the National Gallery. And when I was done, I felt like I had completed an actual race – as this felt just like the finishing line for an actual race. What makes it better is that it’s free of charge too – whereas you need to pay entrance fees to run in official races.”
A chance to run freely along the Singapore roads
For Executive Norliza Noordin, 43, the inaugural CBD Car Free Day had been a great chance to run freely along Singapore roads – without having to stop at traffic junctions and constantly be on the lookout for cars.She said, “I very much enjoyed this event. And what made it even more fun, was that a lot of other events were organised at the same time, such as Zumba, which I joined as a cool down exercise after my run.”
Added Norliza, “This is an excellent initiative which I think will encourage more Singaporeans to take up sports. There were many different activities such as cycling, Zumba, Spartan Training, Running and so on. So there is something for everybody.”
Improvements for future editions of Car Free Sunday
For Alfa Chua, 49, a Property Agent, the activities made the inaugural Car Free Sunday too crowded though. He said, “Though it was a good initiative overall, it was a bit crowded with too many activities. Maybe it’ll be better to separate the route physically, that is, have one part of the road for running and walking, and another for cycling.”Other participants felt that improvements could be made in terms of safety aspects.
Said Lynn Yap, 52, a Personal Assistant to a Director, “Car Free Sunday started at 7am which I personally felt was inconvenient for runners who wanted to take public transport. So we still had to drive down to the event site, and we parked at City Hall.”
She added, “The event itself was fun, and I saw many runners and cyclists coming for this event. The cars were stopped at traffic junctions and everything was well controlled. But the runners and cyclists were sharing the same route, despite the volunteers shouting, bikers on your right and runners on your left. Sometimes the bike just passed me by inches – this could be quite dangerous as there were families with young children.”Patsy Lim, 54, and working in the banking industry, shared Yap’s sentiments. She said, “I enjoyed myself running through Robinson Road area and onto City hall, passing the area outside Victoria Concert Hall where participants were enjoying Zumba dancing.”
She added, “But I felt the cyclists were a bit hazardous. They should encourage the cyclists to walk their bikes in this area if the authorities want to hold this every month. Nevertheless this was a good start to Car Free Sunday, as we can enjoy and soak up the atmosphere without staying for too long.”
Ministers were riding bikes and mingling with the crowd
The participants had fun, even having the chance to mingle with some of Singapore’s top politicians.For Yap, the main highlight during Car Free Sunday, had been seeing some of Singapore’s Ministers, riding bikes. She said, “And they were approached by many runners and cyclists to take selfies and group photos when they returned to the Padang.”
She added, “The Nila mascot was popular for photo taking too, and I also heard from my fiends that there were kiosks providing free bikes – I would have ridden one after one loop of running if I knew. It must be very exciting to ride freely on an otherwise busy road – and I want to try this next month!”