Friday, July 4, 2008

Singapore releases Road closure Details.

FOR 12 days, as Singapore hosts its first Formula 1 race, those travelling to Marina Centre and Suntec City or the vicinity are being urged to do one thing: Take public transport.

The authorities yesterday released details of extensive road closures in the Central Business District – and as Today revealed in an exclusive report last month, these will take place in stages, from Sept 20 to the early hours of Oct 2, and include a morning access window for rush-hour traffic.

While drivers might find it easier to leave their cars at home for this period, the closures will also see 26 bus services diverted :to ply roads “closest to their original route”.

This would affect those working in the Collyer Quay area, for instance, who may will have to drop off at :North Bridge Road or Pickering Street instead, or Suntec City denizens who might have to walk from Beach Road bus stops.

Arrangements have been made, however, for free bus bridging services between the Marina/Suntec area and: City Hall and Bugis MRT stations. This will provide some relief for shoppers, office workers and visitors who want to avoid the long walk, said Land Transport Authority (LTA) chief executive Yam Ah Mee.

Meanwhile, taxis carrying passengers would also be allowed to drop them off at five points at Suntec City, Millenia Tower and the Conrad Hotel lobby. Vacant taxis, however, will not be allowed to enter the restricted or closed roads.

Energetic pedestrians can continue to use the underground CityLink walkway, :overhead bridges and underpasses, although the installation of the track infrastructure might make surface roads inconvenient to navigate. Motorists with season-parking passes should be able to continue to drive in and park, though details are still being worked out.

Challenge: Dispersing the race-day crowd

As for the three race days, Sept 26 to 28, of of the SingTel Singapore Formula One Grand Prix, authorities are working with operators to increase train frequencies and extend public tranport operating hours, to cope with the massive crowd logistics.

With 100,000 ticket holders expected, not to mention tens of thousands more turning up in the vicinity to hear the roar of F1 cars flying past, are the public transport provisions sufficient to handle the surge?

Citing major events such as last year’s National Day Parade which was held at the Marina Bay Floating Platform for the first time, Mr Yam said the existing public transport modes would be able to handle similar large crowds during the grand prix.

On top of the free bridging service, which will run until 7pm on race days, when the main F1 event ends at about 10pm on Sept 28, shuttle buses should be lined up back-to-back to pick up spectators.

This will help move the crowds from the race circuit, to the City Hall and Bugis MRT stations, said LTA.

But in addition, organisers are lining up events, lasting up to two hours, that will hopefully keep some merrymakers back and allow for a staggered dispersal of the crowd. These will include concerts and F&B events in the Marina area, say organisers who will give more details later.

In the meantime, expect localised lane closures on roads affected by F1 works to start next week.

Also ahead of September: A series of rehearsals are being lined up to familiarise organisers, drivers and the public on the road closures. Stakeholders will also be engaged to fine-tune details of the logistical blueprint, said the authorities.


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