Car-Free Sunday draws 10,000 before hiatus until October

Product designer Woon Taiwoon, 42, who is also the co-founder of cycling group Love Cycling SG, leading his fellow cyclists in a ride around the Padang.
Product designer Woon Taiwoon, 42, who is also the co-founder of cycling group Love Cycling SG, leading his fellow cyclists in a ride around the Padang. ST PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Ten thousand people took to the roads on foot and bicycles for the final Car-Free Sunday until October.

The event yesterday, which saw roads around the Central Business District and Civic District closed to vehicles, kicked off GetActive! Singapore, a week of sports activities islandwide.

Old and young alike joined in workouts in front of the National Gallery, took part in a 5km run and danced on the Padang.

This was the sixth of the Car-Free Sundays, which started in February and took place on the last Sunday of each month to promote a car-lite society.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said in June that the event would take a two-month hiatus so the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) could review public feedback, before resuming in October. The URA has not decided how long the extension will last.

Yesterday's guest of honour, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, said she hopes Singaporeans will continue to take part in Car-Free Sundays to engage in sport and stay fit. She added she was pleased to see many ground-up initiatives there.

One such group, Love Cycling SG, built a bicycle inside a bamboo frame the size of a car and rode it around the Padang. It occupies the same road space as six bicycles.

The cycling group's co-founder Woon Taiwoon, 42, said: "We want to show in a humorous fashion how much space a car takes up compared with cycling or personal mobility devices. If space on our roads is used more optimally, more people can enjoy it."

Central Singapore District mayor Denise Phua led about 300 staff and students from the Singapore Management University through the car-free zone to give out packages of necessities to about 150 elderly residents of rental flats.

Ms Phua, who is an MP for Jalan Besar GRC, said: "We should make it part of the ethos of the Central District to constantly go car-lite, or car-free. We would like to ask the minister to not stop this."

Members of the public at the event agreed that Car-Free Sundays should continue.

Para-sprinter Lieu Teck Hua, 36, who was attending his first Car-Free Sunday with his son Lincoln, two, said: "I feel these should be conducted more regularly.

"I'm always looking for places to bring my family, and my son and I can do everything here - walk, dance, play bubble soccer. My wife couldn't be here and it's a pity she has to wait until October for the next one."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2016, with the headline 'Car-Free Sunday draws 10,000 before hiatus until October'. Print Edition | Subscribe