Fixing Orchard Road

Clear vision needed to transform area

I agree that the planners must do some serious thinking about their vision for Orchard Road before they consider pedestrianising it (Pedestrianising Orchard Road may kill, not kindle, its appeal; April 19).

Is their plan merely a version of the street's current status?

Or do they envision a transformation, where retail and dining are parts of a core activity programme centred on, perhaps, a visually arresting open air gallery of digital art projections from the façades of skyscrapers along the strip?

For Orchard Road to stand out, it must come into its own.

The Design Incubator is a good start. A clear identity and positioning will help to determine the type of programmes, events and spaces, and transform the precinct into a uniquely Singapore attraction.

At the same time, existing features which are past their sell-by date must be deactivated. These include the leasing practices of the many cookie-cutter malls and the conversion of the pavements into unsightly picnic sites on weekends.

With proper zoning, programming and facilities, such as the development of a linear park which taps Orchard Road's history as a fruit orchard and spice plantation along the adjacent areas from Dhoby Ghaut to Orchard Boulevard, the precinct can become a world-class leisure destination.

Toh Cheng Seong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2017, with the headline 'Clear vision needed to transform area'. Print Edition | Subscribe