Does Iswaran know what he’s doing with Orchard Road?

Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran says that the government will revamp Orchard Road to re-vitalise the shopping belt. One idea he has is to fully pedestrianise the area by closing off the Road to vehicular traffic.

This proposal comes in the midst of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) embarking on a major project since 2004 to construct a series of elevated and underground links throughout Orchard Road.

These links, according to the government, are meant to provide shoppers a “seamless and all-weather comfort” in their retail experience. Stretching from The Forum near Anguilla Park to Orchard Central, the connecting links add up to nearly 30 km.

It, therefore, seems counter-intuitive for Mr Iswaran to now propose to close off Orchard Road and “fully pedestrianise” it. Do we want to drive shoppers underground to avoid the sun and rain or do we want them to stay at street level?

If we want more people to walk along Orchard Road instead of below it, why did we incur so much funds to build the underground links? The tunnels don’t come cheap, they cost taxpayers up to $28,700 per sq to construct.

Besides, the PAP has already spent $40 million to spruce up Orchard Road since 2002 including putting in landscape and infrastructural enhancements, state-of-the-art lighting, creative spaces and a partially closed off Orchard Road.

Back then (2002), the URA stated that there were “already well-used open spaces along Orchard Road where people meet or where events are organised”. Nevertheless, it said that new public spaces would be added and activities organized to keep Orchard Road “buzzing”. The project was completed in 2009.

Despite this, Orchard Road has become “kind of boring”; shopping centres are empty and shops shuttered.

Yet, Mr Iswaran now proposes to close off the entire Orchard Road. Has he forgotten Pedestrian Night where the entire Road was closed to traffic one Saturday night a month? The party was discontinued because of thin crowds and retailers reported no impact on their earnings during the events.

What makes Mr Iswaran think that doing the same on a permanent basis – to include daytime when it is hot – would be any different?

The Minister’s idea to create “a multi-purpose space” to introduce “experiential concepts” sounds suspiciously like what has been done before and failed.

Rather than use such fuzzy terms, he needs to provide more hard data to show that his ideas will work before he spends more of the people’s hard-earned money.

 

Dr Chee Soon Juan

 

 

Sponsored Content

33 Responses to “Does Iswaran know what he’s doing with Orchard Road?”

  • Ruled by FEAR:

    Politicians do Politics.
    They are not businessmen.

    Politicians do Politics.
    They are not economists.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Goh Choke Tongue:

    He talk like he is qualified with experience and achievements in building huge successful business empires.

    What he is really is just a ….

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • It's Very Simple:

    People just want to buy cheap things, no matter where.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • NotMyProblem:

    Why it is so difficult to say it was because of high rental? Don’t forget ERP Monday to Saturday almost for the whole day and high parking fee.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Same clown:

    this is the same clown who endorsed the diastrous F1 race year after year despite appalling feedback and wastage of public funds. Chee has made some valid points and probably saving the retailers remaining and struggling in Orchard Rd , who will be the ones to clamour that the high rentals and high costs of doing business ( what do you expect when basic essentials like water and utilities are raised ) .
    The story just repeats itself from the FAS affair ( where 1.6 mio are paid to football management and 70K for community football ) , NKF where only 10cts on the dollar was spent on patients with 90cts going to god know where and City Harvest holy six deemed altrustic and innocent of malice when mios have been channeled financing their chief priest’s wife music career.Australia ,ever protective of their own , have launched an Australian first policy and immediate 457 immigration policies to sidelined foreigners and yet Spore had been swamped by third rate foreigners to alarming numbers ( one need look further than to observe the numbers on the trains each morning – we are seeing more foreigners going to work than locals including Malaysians who sound like locals ) are still claiming that foreigners create jobs and only locals need retraining when our newly graduates at poly and uni levels are struggling to find jobs befitting their training.
    does it even sound logical that our young ones just graduated find it immediately theyjust wasted their years training for their discipline and that they have to be retrained for something else as they are not qualified enough coming from the supposedly best education system in Asia .
    When will Singaporeans wake up to see this endemic diease afflicting all areas of life in our beloved nation and the people ?

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Vampire:

    @ Do we want to drive shoppers underground to avoid the sun and rain or do we want them to stay at street level?

    Well daytime underground and night time walk the street.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Butterlard:

    Try merging.eg lucky plaza n with far east plaza

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • ability to think sense:

    Singapore is in dire need for more intelligent leaders and leaders with the ability to think sense, something we do not see in the current crop of obscenely overpaid PAP leaders.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Nothing Unique or diversified:

    Orchard Road from 1st street at Tanglin Mall till the last at Plaza Sg sells almost homogeneous merchandise: Clothes, Bags, Luxury goods, Branded items blah blah from head of the street to the end. How many of these things can tourists and locals buy. They should diversify the range of things/products marketed to different strata groups of market rather than everyday people seeing the same old things down the whole street. No wonder most people only walk down the arena, dun even bother buying except value stores like Daiso, Fastfood etc. All still very expensive.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • dishes on the menu:

    Too much tax payers’ money has been frittered away by these overpaid bumps. We need leaders with more sense.

    - Millions on revamping Orchard Road over and over again

    - Half a million dollars spent on renaming Marina Bay to (sic!) Marina Bay!

    - 500m on YOG.

    YOG? What is that? Does anyone know what YOG is? Outside Singapore, nobody remembers or knows what YOG is or evr heard of it. Neither have their media reported on it.

    - 1m paid to a consultant to make a stupid study on how to design a rubbish bin

    - untold tens of billions thrown away stupidly by some silly Civil Servants running all over the globe foolishly chasing some supposedly top research scientists but without having the ability to understand the need to have any prior coherent or sensible master plans on how to achieve real tangible returns, not building castles in the air.

    Using only a fraction of those billions playing tikam-tikam to fund Silicon Valley or other International startups would have generated better returns.

    - Of course, the mother of them all are the dishes found on the menu of Temasek Holdings and GIC. Losses of 100b? 200? You know why they have persistently refused to answer those questions or to open up the books for scrutiny?

    These are but only an few immediate ones that comes to mind. The list goes on and on.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Amos humiliate L*L and PAP:

    Iswaran is showing his stupidity. Fully pedestrianising the Orchard Road area will not make any difference to fortunes of the shops in the area because their prices are too high because of high rent because of PAP greed, stupidity and incompetence. Also the reason why Amos, a Singapore teenager, blew L*L and PAP out of the water in a US Court.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • lost cause because...:

    @ Same clown
    “When will Singaporeans wake up…”

    please lah buddy, they could’nt be happier in their self-induced coma
    you and dr chee worry for these people oso no use
    the horse is oredi dead, what for whip it to wake it up?
    it’s not going to, just let it rot there lah, seriously…

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • opposition dude:

    Ha ha this just shows PAP is, as usual, out of ideas. They think that closing off Orchard will bring the crowds. The question is, why?

    Orchard is already suffering because of the overabundance of shopping centres which have sprung up over the last few years so of course there would be casualties. In the good old days it more than deserved its reputation when major brands would only be found there along with whatever products they were selling.

    These days it’s all flash and no substance. Sure, you can renovate every few years but if shoppers aren’t spending then its all gone to waste.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • byhunjiko:

    Even if you are able to revamp there like sci fi shows with flying cars and what also useless. As the things there are expensive and retail is die as caused by online shopping.

    So what’s the point of all these? Must well revamp all to sex malls where they sell sex and massage like Orchard tower hahaha!

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • GS:

    Amos humiliate L*L and PAP:
    Iswaran is showing his stupidity. Fully pedestrianising the Orchard Road area will not make any difference to fortunes of the shops in the area because their prices are too high because of high rent because of PAP greed, stupidity and incompetence. Also the reason why Amos, a Singapore teenager, blew L*L and PAP out of the water in a US Court.

    It will make it worse. Not everybody wants to take his date on the MRT. People have cars and want to use them. Removing a few kilometers of roads makes all the difference. Remaining car parks and roads around Orchard will be so over-stressed, people will avoid the place like it gave leperosy. Orchard Road has to change or die, like the PAP. Life support only lasts so long.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Singapore Walking Street?:

    Just like Pattaya and Phuket?

    More revenues too!

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Sick society of PAP:

    Fifty years of the same, repacked, renamed, and repacked and renamed repeatedly with the State Controlled Newspapers twisting reports of the repacked renamed into ‘new’ to dumb and fool the easily dumbed and fooled predecessors of smart nation.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Sick society of PAP:

    They have to do countless repackaging to fool citizens that their political salaries justify their magic which actually are no more than daydreams.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Sinkies Deserve It:

    If you observe these PAP politicians, you will notice a pattern. They address real life issues like solving assessment papers, because it is assessment papers that got them where they are.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Iswaran, o u understand that?:

    GS: It will make it worse. Not everybody wants to take his date on the MRT. People have cars and want to use them.

    Those who drive their cars to shop at Orchard Road are those with higher spending power for the stores at Orchard Road. Do you understand that, Iswaran?

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • LIONS:

    Isnt he an ardent $upporter of the F1 too?

    Maybe he shud suggest opening the nearby Istana grounds for bazaars to attract the crowds?
    That way,they can also integrate with the people ?

    This guy also worked at TH when TH lost BILLIONSthen?

    Whats their real “VALUE-ADD”?
    NEGATIVE,probably.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • zultan:

    Orchard Road has become boring – large spaces but with similar things. It used to be that almost everything you need are found on Orchard Road. Not any more, due to high rents!

    With rent at 33% of sales, only very well-known brands, sold at prices higher than almost anywhere in the world (most fashion brands are cheaper overseas) can afford a shop on Orchard Road. And they can be bought elsewhere too. New, interesting brands, both international and local cannot afford such spaces. Result – expensive and boring.

    Pedestrianising Orchard Road will guarantee a quicker death.

    Instead of building expensive underpasses, re-routing traffic, subsidise mall owners if they rent at least 20% of their spaces to new, niche, small and/or experential retailers at 50% of normal rental for the first 3 years! Many may not survive but going to Orchard Road will be about discovering new things.

    But our present bunch of leaders are too stupid and have no guts to try anything that are not taught in textbooks written 30 years ago!

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • oxygen:

    @ GS,

    PAPpy won’t change and ever more determined to change, so it will die and take Sinkieland to their graves.

    They are still hallucinating that AliBaba.com & Amazon.com will bend backward to cater for them and Sinkieland only because AUTHORITARIAN REGIME SAYS SO.

    The world outside PAPpy dead worm caterpillar mindset has changed and changed at an accelerating rate and PAPpy is in denial of complete oblivion – still FOACKING AROUND with so-called FAKE NEWS when they are the biggest purveyor of fake news for the last 50 years.

    70% of the daft sinkie peasants are REALLY TOO STUPID TO KNOW THEY ARE STUPID – they missed out on two opportunities to sweep out the incompetent political rats in 2011 and 2015.

    GS: It will make it worse. Not everybody wants to take his date on the MRT. People have cars and want to use them. Removing a few kilometers of roads makes all the difference. Remaining car parks and roads around Orchard will be so over-stressed, people will avoid the place like it gave leperosy. Orchard Road has to change or die, like the PAP. Life support only lasts so long.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • oxygen:

    Oops typo error there, sorry

    oxygen: PAPpy won’t change and ever more determined to change

    should be read as

    oxygen: PAPpy won’t change and ever more determined to RESIST change

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Absolute Authoritarianism:

    Everything under authoritarianism is ARTIFICIAL.

    eg. Entreprenuership. They believe that it can be taught.

    Creativity. They think they ask for it and it will come.

    Babies. They think give money will get babies.

    Everything to them they think can be created by authoritarian rule.

    Fundamentally flawed.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • nizhemoshou:

    ORchard road is a victim of greedy lhl govt own making. It has thru their greed prices SG out of regional competition. Today SG is no longer favourite destination for shopping, food n nitelife entertainment amongst asean countries. The position has been taken over by Msia and Thailand and even Vietnam is fast catching up.

    Tourists rather conserve their money when in SG and go to splurge them at its better value for money asean neigbors. Even local SGs are doing the same.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Haha:

    Revamp Orchard Road because no crowd and no tourists? Do you know there are thousands of birds visiting Orchard Road after 6:30pm? They perform good music for the tourists to hear on the roads. So tourists not going to shopping.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Ek bong:

    Merge china town wif orchard rd?

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Dinners and just dinners:

    It’s really a question where you want to put people – do you want to squeeze them all into tunnels in Orchard Rd or do you want to put them else where: heartland malls or New Downtown or where. In theory you could try to develop all to a high standard, just who is going to pay for it all (public or private money) and how much? And also what is the high standard? Could turn out awful like many public projects (and also private ones). But of course there are many good projects.

    In theory, it would be good to spread the wealth around the island rather than just concentrate on Orchard Road. But often tourists are here just for a day or two – some less – and the first and only place they visit could be Orchard Road.

    So at Orchard Road we might see something like tunnel shopping cities that is common in places like Japan and Canada. But is that really what we want to see? And will that just mean more pedestrian congestion and car park shortage?

    If building tunnels at Orchard Road, good to also build moving walkways in the tunnel complex connecting MRT stations and bus stops in Orchard Road area to relieve current pressure on MRT and buses. Also good to have a connection to the New Downtown other than existing MRT.

    If not building something grand, then probably better to concentrate new shopping and tunnel development in places like Jurong East where the HSR station will be, and Woodlands where the regional rail to Johor will be. Concentrate rather on mid-tier shopping and capsule hotels and airport style very short stay hotels at these two points rather than high end expensive shopping and 5 star hotels at Orchard Road no one but the rich jet set can afford. There could be new direct links from these two points in Jurong East and Woodlands to National Stadium/Kallang entertainment area and to Changi Airport so there is enhanced connectivity for people travelling to and from KL and elsewhere in Malaysia for those coming here for sports and entertainment events or for transit to catch a flight. Doing all this, we might see more budget and medium income travellers and short stay regional tourists who can spend their dollar in other points in Singapore other than expensive Orchard Road that is already beyond their reach.

    If doing all this, maybe can think to move current Little Thailand (Beach Road) and Little Myanmar (Coleman Street) to new Thai and Myanmar nationality-specific malls with worker recreation centre and Thai and Myanmar embassy and MOM branches in Jurong East – not far from new Thai bus terminus – and free up Beach Road and Coleman Street for private developers to do something more high end and exciting at these two currently run-down points.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • C'est la vie:


    Turn Orchard Road into a running track and put Humpty Iswaran on it. He could do with losing some weight as the overly excess fat is most certainly turning him even more moronic than he already is. Whilst he’s at it, the entire excessly overpaid cabinet should join him too, as the yardage covered will be more than they have ever covered in their lifetime, addressing the needs of the people whom they are paid to serve.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Mediacorp = Mad + Mati:

    Underground mall @ Citylink is a flop – many stores closed down. Could be a case of stale shops. But the traffic @ Orchard Gateway tunnel quite good.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Bapak:

    If I have a shop in Orchard Road and they fully pedestrianise it, I will close that shop and move it elsewhere. How to deliver goods without vehicle delivery access? KNN, only cow brains can come up with such shit plan.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Taxi Uncle Lim Kopi:

    I read with concern about the plight of Orchard Road. Among the many factors such as high rent and heartland shopping malls in HDB estates which sell goods cheaper, there is also one key factor which many people missed out: change of times.

    In the past, let’s say 12 years ago, youngsters who frequent Orchard Rd were born in the 70s and early 80s. During that period, there was still no huge disruption in technology.

    After 2004, when Google and Facebook started to take off, things began to change. They started to disrupt everything, and it was exactly at this period that those born in the 90s and late 80s got inserted onto the technologically disruptive period.

    From my observation these couple of years, I take more youngsters to Bugis area than Orchard Rd during the weekends.

    I was thinking over the past couple of days, why do they go there? From there I figured out additional reasons besides the shopping malls there:

    1. Sim Lim Square: more people are tech savvy nowadays and some are hardcore techies. They would drop by Sim Lim Square to browse through the computers and tech gadgets.

    2. Sim Lim Tower: similar reason. People go there to buy audio and electronic components. During the weekends, many young people and young dads would just cross the road from SLS and walk over to SLT, maybe to look for components for their projects or for their work or maybe just plain viewing.

    3. OG: for the ladies more senior in age (for mums and grandmas)

    4. temples: place of worship (for mums and grandmas)

    5. Albert food complex: cheap food and wet market (for whole family)

    Of course, we assume that the authorities want to attract more youngsters back to Orchard. But do they have the ‘things’ to start with?

    Rather than injecting more events and ‘life’ (which are old and useless topics), they should consider building a shopping/trading complex or setting aside part of a shopping mall where teens or young working people can shop for computers as well as electronic components all in one place.

    Do we have a mall like Shenzhen’s Huaqiangbei? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGJ5cZnoodY&t=1769s If Orchard Road has this, it will not only bring back families and youngsters, it will attract more regional youngsters into Singapore.

    Times change. This is why Orchard Rd is not hip anymore. Rather than trying to “bring back old crowds”, the authorities should try to “bring in new crowds” by giving Orchard Rd a new image – that is giving it a range of businesses besides fashions, salons, and foods. The crowd will come automatically.

    The crowd of yesteryears won’t come back. They are old now. We are facing a different kind of crowd now in this new era. That’s why the planning of Orchard Rd should be modeled after…

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
Member Services
Members LoginSelf-ClassifiedsSelf-Support
Sponsored Advertisement





Search On TR Emeritus
Sponsored Advertisement



Most Recent Comments
  • flabbergasted: Seow Leow: All the PAP silly billies try to muddy up the issue. The real matter is : LKY has...
  • 亜李爸爸: Let us all put our efforts to get the PM to be accountable to this serious wrong doing, a case just as serious...
  • PAP cocksuker: When we go for our BMT in the army we are made to swear allegiance to the President and the...
  • blueview: Tharman, President Tony Tan is keeping his mouth SHUT and ENJOYING HIS PENSION AND HIS MILLIONS! Can you do...
  • blueview: It is also called KARMA!
  • Amos humiliate L*L and PAP: Cisco Kid: Cabinet needs to explain clearly their reasons for wanting to preserve...
  • LHY vs. LHL: Even an ordinary man can read the simple language in a written will, let alone SG’s great man LKY...
  • Bebe: What kind of a elder brother would not trust his own siblings? Instead of protecting his own siblings and...
  • A Nation Of Dumb Parrots: These are all yes men. All interviewed and recruited the same way, drank the same tea, sang...
  • Who Stole My HDB?: Need more on La wrence Wong: Good idea. Need to know if Lawrence Wong is also...
  • All In The Familee: Someone did say: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his...
  • Oldtimer: Pretty pointless in keeping the house if no one can enter it. Unless of course, a law is passed saying it...
  • Twelve Years NS Deferment: flabbergasted: tony tan, where are you? why and for what are you keeping quiet? everybody...
  • l'ingenieur: There are two camps in SG right now. Those that think that slathering on the makeup can bring on the...
  • Snake-Catcher: Dear Sweet-Talker Indranee Rajah, Very shameful leh, You know or not? Please don’t speak like a...
  • Total Stupidity Inc.®: Indranee Rajah’s analysis of the will is far more subtle and complicated than a...
  • Bapak: It has already happened in Termasick my friend that’s why they are losing money. To the D1 & D2...
  • opposition dude: The house can be demolished, why would there be any law that says a house cannot be demolished? So...
  • BuyMeBakKutTeh: WL n HY… thank you both for speaking up. Be it private or public. Both of u have opened a big...
  • BBC: Its over Folks: China PLA involved in wars in the 21st Century… hahaha. CCP should award you a medal...
  • New Egg Yoke: Even if Christ, Buddha or Allah were to appear in Holy Trinity and backs LWL and LHY, Pinky and...
  • TWL: The use of a ministerial committee is absolutely inappropriate and an abuse of power. trying to resolve a family...
  • Remember: She cleaned up as a daughter in law, but arranged to loan the items as PMO point of contact. Does anyone...
  • Bapak: The second point was that the Oxley Road house is no longer a private matter, as it is closely bound up in the...
Announcement
Support TR Emeritus
Support TR Emeritus:
Other Amount:
Advertisement
Advertisement
Free Classifieds
  • Do you wish to expand your business cont

    We gives out both business and personal cash no co...
    [Read more]

  • Sample of a Free Ad

    . This ia a sample of how a Free Ad (without imag...
    [Read more]

Readers Statistic
Latest Statistic