SINGAPORE: The Government will work with organisers of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) to improve how future editions are run, said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu on Monday (Jan 6).
The event last year, which was held in the evening for the first time, caused massive traffic jams in the city area, with two other major events held in the city concurrently.
READ: Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon apologises, says traffic studies carried out before race
Three members of parliament - Ms Lee Bee Wah, Mr Liang Eng Hwa and Mr Desmond Choo - had asked Ms Fu why problems caused by the event were not anticipated, and what would be done to improve similar situations in the future.
In her written response, Ms Fu said MCCY, together with the relevant agencies and organiser Ironman Asia, will study the public feedback, "including suggestions to de-conflict the SCSM with other major events, and the need to enhance public communications on the road closures," she added.
Ms Fu said the aim is for the event to be listed among the Abbott World Marathon Majors (WMM) - a series of the world's most renowned marathons.
With the race being held in the evening, there was a marked increase in the number of participants and spectators, she noted.
Nearly 30,000 participants ran in the marathon and half-marathon events, and more than 70,000 supporters were in the designated spectator zones and along the route.
PREPARATIONS WERE TAKEN SERIOUSLY
From the onset, SportSG and the organisers Ironman Asia recognised that the evening timing would be a complex and major undertaking and took the preparations seriously, said Ms Fu.
Preparations for the SCSM 2019 began shortly after the 2018 event concluded.
Ms Fu said a joint operations committee involving the organisers and various Government agencies, such as Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Traffic Police, was set up to develop and implement traffic plans and minimise inconvenience to the public.
"A detailed traffic impact study was conducted, and plans took into careful account accessibility for essential services such as hospitals and fire stations," she said.
Additional traffic measures were put in place in view of major concurrent events such as the U2 concert at the Singapore Sports Hub and the Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay.
"SportSG also coordinated with the Singapore Tourism Board to engage affected businesses and stakeholders since the start of 2019, where road closure information was shared early with over 150 affected stakeholders to help with their own preparations."
She said in the weeks leading up to the race, the event organiser ramped up road closure announcements on mainstream and social media platforms. It also beefed up call centre operations to address public queries on the road closures.
On the event day itself, 500 Auxiliary police officers were deployed at critical road junctions to redirect motorists and advise on alternative routes, Ms Fu said.
"Emergency services were facilitated through regardless of the road closures. Roads were progressively opened as the race proceeded, in as safe a manner as possible."
"There will be logistical inconveniences posed to stakeholders and members of the public in the initial years, and we will keep aiming to improve how future editions are organised," she added.
"But we hope that with the support of Singaporeans and by working closely with partners, we can build up the SCSM into an event that all Singaporeans can be proud of and look forward to."