SINGAPORE: The trial of a multidirectional or scramble crossing similar to the one in Tokyo’s bustling Shibuya district began in Orchard Road on Saturday (Dec 16), and it was generally well-received by pedestrians.
For the first time, shoppers can cross the intersection of Orchard Road and Cairnhill Road diagonally. This leads them from the junction where H&M is located, directly to the corner where the Heeren building stands.
Two auxiliary police officers were seen guiding pedestrians and there were new markings on the road indicating where the diagonal crossing was.
When Channel NewsAsia went down to the intersection on Saturday afternoon, most pedestrians said they welcomed the initiative. Many, however, said they were not aware that a scramble crossing was in operation.
Crowds were initially thin due to the afternoon rain but once it stopped, the regular crossing from Mandarin Gallery to H&M became jam packed with pedestrians once again and it was noticeably busier than the new diagonal crossing.
One pedestrian, 17-year-old Naomi Huth, said: "I was in Shibuya earlier this year and I think the lines on the street were more obvious … We didn't see it (the Orchard crossing), that's why we only took the normal crossing. If it were a lot more obvious I think more people would use it."
Others, like 34-year-old Kwet Tze Lin, said the waiting time to cross the road was shorter. “We can just conveniently cross and not have to wait for the traffic so long," added the finance manager. One pedestrian was seen taking a photo in the middle of the diagonal crossing.
The trial comes at a time when the Orchard Road Business Association is trying to revive the shopping belt, improve connectivity and make it easier for people to move around.
The owner of Ange Café at Glasshouse by DHM, located on the second floor of Heeren, believes the scramble crossing could bring more business.
“Now people have direct access instead of having to cross two roads. It’s far more convenient just to be able to cross once,” said Ms Angela May.
“This area has always been fantastic for people-watching and now you’re getting all of this activity and people literally scrambling across the street.”
She noted that the side of the road where her restaurant is located tends to be quieter compared to the opposite end where H&M is, and said the crossing could make it easier for shoppers to cross over.
The crossing will be trialled on all weekends and public holidays until Jan 28.