SINGAPORE: During this festive period, shoppers at Orchard Road should be able to get to their favourite malls more quickly and more easily.
A multidirectional, or scramble, crossing, similar to that of Tokyo’s bustling Shibuya crossing, will be introduced at the junction of Cairnhill Road and Orchard Road.
The crossing will be trialled on all weekends and public holidays from Dec 16 to Jan 28, allowing pedestrians to simultaneously cross the junction in any direction.
“It will allow pedestrians to access the side of the street they most want without waiting for a second traffic light,” said Orchard Road Business Association (ORBA) chairman Mark Shaw on Friday (Nov 24).
With the Orchard shopping belt seeing more than 120 million visitors a year, Mr Shaw said “auxiliary officers from various agencies” will help facilitate the crossing.
Traffic light and “green man” timings will also be modified, Mr Shaw added, although he referred reporters to the Land Transport Authority for details.
“Trialling this during the year-end festive period is timely as it will provide pedestrians with better access to enhanced programming and various activities within the precinct,” Mr Shaw noted.
The scramble crossing comes amid ORBA’s efforts to boost Orchard Road’s allure, with measures including a Christmas Village and a Christmas countdown party.
“The concept of a scramble walk has been mooted by ORBA and Orchard Road stakeholders as one of the many ways to improve connectivity, making it easier for people to move around and experience vibrancy along Orchard Road,” Mr Shaw said.
While he acknowledged that such measures will temporarily cause congestion, he said that ORBA’s long-term goal is to make the belt more pedestrian-friendly.
“It’s a trial, so we hope to look at the data and implement this at more junctions,” Mr Shaw added.
A previous scramble walk at Orchard Road was trialled by the Singapore Tourism Board for six months in December 2006.