Is it goodbye for Orchard's Pedestrian Night?

Busker Wee Toon Hee, 54, entertaining the crowd during yesterday's Pedestrian Night. The event sees a 660m stretch of Orchard Road closed to traffic on the first Saturday of every month. After last night, it is in hiatus until the organisers and the
Busker Wee Toon Hee, 54, entertaining the crowd during yesterday's Pedestrian Night. The event sees a 660m stretch of Orchard Road closed to traffic on the first Saturday of every month. After last night, it is in hiatus until the organisers and the authorities decide whether to continue with it.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Organisers and the authorities to decide on fate of event; shoppers and stores all for it

Last night may have been the last chance for shoppers to stretch their legs on a car-free Orchard Road.

Since October 2014, the monthly Pedestrian Night, organised by the Orchard Road Business Association (Orba) with the support of Singapore Tourism Board, has seen a 660m stretch of the shopping strip closed to traffic on the first Saturday of the month from 6pm to 11pm.

But the initiative to drum up business will not carry on for the foreseeable future as the association is in talks with the authorities and stakeholders to review it.

"There will not be another Pedestrian Night after the February run until we decide on the future of the initiative," Orba executive director Steven Goh told The Sunday Times.

When the scheme was piloted between October 2014 and March last year, it attracted about 50,000 visitors each time.

Orba planned another six-month run from last July to December but had to cancel the October and November events because of the haze. It was extended to February this year instead.

Last night's event saw pedestrians gather around a "movie lorry" screening local short films, such as Reunion, Backstage, Make Me Laugh and The Lying Theory.

Adding to the atmosphere were buskers, jugglers and street magicians, as well as balloon sculptures and music performances.

Mr Goh said the feedback and experience that Orba has collected from past Pedestrian Nights will help it and the authorities to evaluate whether the initiative should be continued.

Shoppers and pedestrians feel the event should stay.

Last night was the third Pedestrian Night interior designer Vincent Ang, 40, has attended. "It adds a different vibe to Orchard," he said. "If not, it is the same old thing of shopping and malls all the time."

Stores around the area agree that the event should be revived.

Mr Wulf Loot, a manager at Omakase Burger at Wisma Atria, said: "More people come in to window shop on such Saturdays, and it is good for business."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 07, 2016, with the headline 'Is it goodbye for Orchard's Pedestrian Night?'. Print Edition | Subscribe