- POSTED: 11 Jan 2014 18:24
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It has been two months since Circular Road was closed off to vehicles every weekend. Restaurant and bar owners said they have seen larger crowds and better business. They hope this three-month trial can be extended, so that Boat Quay can be further revitalised.
SINGAPORE: It has been two months since Circular Road was closed off to vehicles every weekend.
Restaurant and bar owners said they have seen larger crowds and better business. They hope this three-month trial can be extended, so that Boat Quay can be further revitalised.
Circular Road at Boat Quay has been closed to vehicles between 6pm and 1am every Friday and Saturday.
Restaurants and bars move tables outside to liven the place up with an al fresco experience.
This is part of a trial to pedestrianise the street. So far, business owners said they have seen business improve by up to 50 per cent.
Roy Ashari, assistant manager at Mogambo Bar & Restaurant, said: “Previously, with so many customers coming here, they moved to Clarke Quay. But with Clarke Quay being too saturated and too touristy, the locals are coming back here again. So it's a very positive thing that we're looking at. We look forward to (the pedestrianisation trial) carrying on further, rather than just a short-term thing."
Part of the draw is the area's proximity to the central business district.
The Friday crowd consists mainly of office workers heading over for an after-work pint.
The trial was slated to end in late January, but there are plans by Singapore River One, which organised the trial, to try to extend it.
Business owners are in strong support of the move.
Kimi Lim, owner of Public House, said: “This is only a trial period, so it's only just a few shops that are taking up this opportunity. If this whole road is closed, the aesthetic of this place will be much better."
Alexander Gow, operations manager of Molly Malone's Irish Pub, said he hopes the trial can last for another six months at least. He said the closure only started just before the year-end lull period, and it is still too soon to tell whether it will help to revitalise the area.
Currently, not all the tenants are making use of the outdoor space. Some said they have no need for extra capacity. There were also tenants who said customers are uncomfortable dining outdoors.
Tenants have to pay S$300 per month to make use of a space about the size of a parking lot.
During the road closure, some spaces were occupied by cars, which were parked there before vehicles were not allowed to enter the area.
Business owners said they cannot do anything about this, but they hope that authorities can remove parking lots, so they can make more permanent use of the outdoor space.
If Circular Road gets the green light for permanent closure to traffic, business owners said they hope it can compete with other places with al fresco dining, such as Club Street.