More Pedestrian Nights to come

Visitors pose for memorable shot and enjoying street performances and other activities at the Pedestrian Night on Orchard Road on 3 January 2015.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

The Orchard Road Pedestrian Night will be back in January and February next year, to make up for being cancelled in October and November this year during the haze.

The event, which shuts a 660m stretch of road on the shopping strip on the first Saturday of the month for five hours from 6pm, will be held next on Jan 2.

The upcoming event will feature a performance-based installation called HAG Space.

Drummer Brandon Khoo, a cappella group MICappella, speed painter Vilas Nayak and dance duo Max & Chloe will perform in the space. There will also be stilt walkers and samba percussionists.

The event is organised by the Orchard Road Business Association (Orba) and supported by the Singapore Tourism Board.

Orba's executive director, Mr Steven Goh, told The Straits Times that feedback for the initiative had been positive so far.

He said: "We believe Pedestrian Night has increased the footfall for Orchard Road and enhanced the street-level buzz and vibrancy in the precinct."

The first six Pedestrian Nights attracted more than 50,000 shoppers on average - twice the average Saturday night footfall.

During the pilot Pedestrian Nights from October last year to March this year, more than 70 per cent of the 1,000 people surveyed were interested in revisiting Orchard Road for the event, he said.

Mr Goh added that when embarking on the initiative, the association anticipated that some stakeholders such as retailers may have concerns that it deters some customers from coming to Orchard Road.

One such stakeholder is Mr Kelvyn Chee, managing director of Decks, the brand owner of Surfers Paradise and Island shops. Four of his shops and counters are in the Orchard Road stretch.

"There's a party atmosphere and it's crowded, so people don't want to buy things because they have to carry them along," he said.

He said having a more carnival-like setting, with booths and activities for children, may draw more families with young children and maybe increase sales.

Events on past Pedestrian Nights included mass yoga, band gigs and outdoor film screenings. Themes also followed occasions such as National Day and the Singapore Grand Prix. Malls held promotions and sales as well.

Mr Goh said that, for its part, Orba has been rallying stakeholders to create special promotions or in-mall activities for Pedestrian Nights, and driving awareness of such promotions and activities through advertisements, social media outreach and announcements.

He said discussions on the future of the initiative are ongoing.

He added: "We believe the feedback that we have accumulated so far and the experience gained from organising Pedestrian Nights in various formats will help us and the authorities to decide whether the initiative should be continued."

Mr Steven Teng, owner of a camera and electronics shop on the ground floor of Lucky Plaza, said he had seen a slight increase in sales because of the initiative.

He said: "There are more people coming into my shop. It's beneficial to the business in a way."

Mr Muhammad Zulkefly, 27, a sales engineer who went for the Pedestrian Night earlier this month, said he enjoyed being able to walk on a normally busy road.

He also liked the atmosphere created by the upbeat music and the Christmas lights. He is looking forward to the next one.

"I hope to see more entertainment such as a fire show or magic show," he said.

This article was first published on Dec 29, 2015. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.