Dear A.S.S. Editor
There are plans that was recently announced to make Orchard Road fully pedestrianised. The Minister for Trade and Industry, S Iswaran, announced this at a tourism industry conference, where he reiterated that a few government bodies such as the LTA and URA have to work together to make this a reality.
The plan is to make the shopping belt fully pedestrianised as part of bold plans to transform the precinct into a distinctive shopping and lifestyle destination. But can such a plan take off? Even the most famous shopping streets in the world, like NY’s Times Square, or Japan’s Shibuya District, are actual streets with vehicular traffic.
If this plan becomes reality, we could be the first country to actually close a major road and convert it fully to a pedestrian walkway. And this, if it happens, will definitely change the landscape of Orchard Road. There might even be no more Orchard Road, once the road is gone.
But in land scarce Singapore, is this a good idea? Do we really need a fully pedestrianised Orchard Road? Or is it better to have all the malls in Orchard linked undergound, thus negating the need to having to come out into the hot sun, or heavy rain on some days, and leaving the roads as they are?