SINGAPORE - Thousands took to the roads on foot and bicycles for the final Car-Free Sunday until October.
The event on Sunday (July 31), which saw roads in the Central Business District (CBD) closed to traffic, 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 more car-lite society.
The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) announced in June that the event would take a two-month hiatus so they could review public feedback, before resuming in October.
Guest of honour Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, said she hopes Singaporeans will continue to take part in Car-Free Sundays when they resume in October to engage in sport and stay fit.
"This is a wonderful way of bringing Singaporeans of all ages and races together to have a fun and active Sunday," she said, adding that she was pleased to see many ground-up initiatives at the event.
One such group, Love Cycling SG, built a bicycle inside a bamboo frame the size of a car and rode it around the CBD.
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 to cycling or personal mobility devices. If space on our roads is used more optimally, more people can enjoy it."
The structure, which occupies the same road space as six bicycles, took the group two weeks to build at the URA's premises.
Central Singapore District mayor Denise Phua led about 300 staff and students from Singapore Management University (SMU) through the car-free zone as part of the SMU Challenge, an annual community service project.
They gave out packages of necessities to about 150 elderly rental flat residents.
Ms Phua, who is MP for Jalan Besar GRC, said she looks forward to carrying on with Car-Free Sundays. "We should make it part of the ethos of the Central District to constantly go car-lite," she said.
Members of the public at the event expressed some sadness that the Car-Free Sundays were coming to an end, although for a short while.
Said interior designer Matthew Koh, 49: "They are always so fun and I've been to all except one. I wouldn't miss today for the world."
He spent 10 hours decorating his bicycle and sidecar with flowers and bumblebees, so his dachshund Max could ride alongside him, sporting sunglasses.
"Singaporeans lead such stressful lives and I hope we can bring some joy to pedestrians and cyclists."
Retired factory worker Mohaini Salleh, 63, said: "It's a good way for old folks like me to walk and exercise, instead of staying at home with nothing to do. It's also nice to enjoy the view of this area without having to worry about cars."
For track and field para-athlete Lieu Teck Hua, it was his first time at a Car-Free Sunday. "I feel these should be conducted more regularly," said the 36-year-old,who was with his two and a half year old son.
"I'm always looking for places to bring my family, and I can do everything here. My wife couldn't be here and it's a pity she has to wait until October for the next one."
To form a 5km-route for the event, St Andrew's Road, Stamford Road and Esplanade Drive are closed to traffic from 7.30am to 12pm, and Shenton Way, Robinson Road and Fullerton Road lanes were closed from 7.30am to 10am. Connaught Drive will also be closed from 7.30am to 7pm to host a variety of community sporting events and activities.
The URA reminded the public to also be vigilant, in the wake of an attack in Nice, France, where a truck ploughed into a crowd, killing 84 on Bastille Day.
Said a spokesman: "The safety and security of participants have always been a consideration in our planning of Car-Free Sunday SG events. There are auxiliary police officers and medical staff with ambulances on standby. We also have security personnel on duty who are trained to respond to emergency situations and facilitate crowd dispersal where necessary."