Orchard lights up - in 'safer' colours

Orchard lights up - in 'safer' colours
THEN AND NOW: Orchard Road decked out for Christmas in 2008 (above), and lit up with blue and white decorations on Wednesday, during a test run of the lights. This year’s light-up, themed Christmas on A Great Street, will be turned on tonight and run till Jan 5.

Green, red and gold may be traditional Christmas colours, but they are also similar to the ones on traffic lights.

Given that this could lead to motorists confusing yuletide decorations with traffic signals, the Orchard Road Business Association (Orba) has decided, from this year, to avoid the use of these colours for the shopping belt's annual light-up that it organises.

"While we want to create the festive mood, we have to ensure that motorists will not be distracted by the displays," Orba's executive director Steven Goh told The Straits Times. He explained that initial plans to use silver and gold - which is similar to the amber signal of traffic lights - for this year's display were altered.

Instead, the panel of senior Orba and STB representatives which plans and chooses the decorations decided to turn Orchard into a winter wonderland with giant diamonds and snowflakes - all blue and white.

Called Christmas on A Great Street, the lights for the 2.2km stretch from Tanglin Mall to Plaza Singapura will be turned on by President Tony Tan Keng Yam tonight in a ceremony at Shaw House Urban Plaza.

The light-up will run till Jan 5.

The move follows consultations with government agencies, including the Land Transport Authority and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

But it has prompted some to ask if organisers and the authorities are being too cautious.

Said marketing executive Lynn Seah, 33, who drives down Orchard Road at least three times a week: "What is Christmas without its iconic colours? Safety is important but which motorist can be so clueless as to mistake fairy lights for traffic lights?"

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