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Looking ahead to the Civic and Cultural District by the Bay

Empress Place, Esplanade Park enhancements, existing roads to pedestrian paths by 2015
Saturday, November 23, 2013 - 06:00
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HEART OF THE CITY There will be more spaces for pedestrian activities and outdoor events, and night lighting will also be provided to support night activities.

Singapore

THE civic and cultural district, home to the former Supreme Court and City Hall Buildings, the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) and The Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, is envisioned as offering expansive spaces for pedestrians to linger under tree-lined boulevards, and opening up venues for outdoor performances.

Come 2015, various enhancements, including the conversion of existing roads into pedestrian paths and enhancements at Empress Place and Esplanade Park, can be expected.

Currently, the precinct is cut up by roads. To fulfil the vision of a walkable district, Parliament Lane and the small road at Empress Place (between ACM and Victoria Theatre) will be pedestrianised permanently. This will integrate the two spaces, creating a seamless park-like setting.

Part of Fullerton Road - in front of Victoria Theatre and, incidentally, part of the Formula 1 track - will also be realigned, allowing for a larger and more elegant lawn space in front of Victoria Theatre/Concert Hall and ACM.

In addition, Connaught Drive will be narrowed to one lane and limited to destination-bound traffic. Tourist coaches which currently park along Connaught Drive will be redirected to a new coach park at Marina Centre near the Marina Centre bus terminal. A new dedicated drop-off and pick-up point is planned.

Other landscaping efforts, such as the planting of more trees to provide shade, better way-finding signs and upgrading of street furniture are also planned at Empress Place and Esplanade Park.

In addition, the waterfront promenade along Esplanade Park will be opened up with stepped plazas and an urban beach, allowing people to get closer to the water.

Various spaces, including Raffles Landing, will soon be equipped to host outdoor events. To facilitate this, in-built infrastructure is planned, which will allow for easier setting-up of events, pop-up structures and mobile kiosks. Night lighting will also be provided to support night activities.

These plans are part of the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) PubliCity initiative, which aims to engage the community in celebrating good public spaces and to enliven public spaces through good design and programmes.

In the longer term, URA is studying the possibility of closing Anderson Bridge, Fullerton Road, St Andrew's Road and Parliament Place to through traffic, leaving it open to destination-bound traffic, public buses and pedestrians only.

Other developments being studied include the temporary closure of Anderson Bridge, Fullerton Road, St Andrew's Road, and Parliament Place to traffic during weekends or evenings for events.

Elsewhere on the island, other upcoming enhancement projects include an environment improvement project at Bras Basah and Bugis, which will see the carriageways on a stretch along Queen Street narrowed and the sidewalks widened. More street furniture and trees are also planned, with works expected to be completed by mid-2014.

Punggol Town Square and Bedok Town Centre will introduce new public spaces in Punggol and Bedok, respectively.

In addition to creating new public spaces and rejuvenating existing ones, PubliCity wants to encourage ownership of these spaces. To this end, the public is being invited to re-imagine four public spaces.

Specifically, ideas are being sought to enliven the open space beside Gedung Kuning in Kampong Glam, which measures about 1,200 square metres (sq m), and The Lawn @ Marina Bay, which measures about 13,000 sq m, as gathering spaces for the community.

The third space comprises two plots along the Singapore River Promenade - a 2,600 sq m site beside High Street Centre and a 1,000 sq m site at Clarke Quay/River Valley Road on which part of G-Max and GX-5 are currently situated. It is intended for the latter site to be transformed into an attractive entry point to Clarke Quay.

The 2,000 sq m Woodlands Civic Plaza, which is bounded by Causeway Point, Woodlands Civic Centre and two future developments, rounds up the list. The vision for the existing plaza space is a vibrant key node. Proposals should give ideas on how it can become a better public space for a diverse range of users who use the plaza for rest and respite and as a meeting place.

The submission period is from Nov 22 to Feb 14. Up to 10 winners will each win $1,000 in cash.

Separately, URA intends to launch the Pick a Bench, Pick a Place project in February next year. The public will be invited to vote for their favourite bench designs and where they would like to see the benches installed.

The benches, which are made using seating planks from the former National Stadium, are the product of a design competition held in September last year.

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