Woeful weekend traffic as Singapore runs race, attends concert and shops

Singaporeans were stranded in hours-long traffic jams over the busy weekend due to roads closed for a three-day running event held downtown. 

Nearly 90 roads and lanes were closed at various times Friday through Sunday for the Standard Chartered Marathon in a weekend that also saw two large concerts, all of which added up to traffic pain, particularly in the Marina Bay, Nicoll Highway, and Tanjong Pagar areas.

Private motorists felt the slam as did public buses, dozens of which were caught in heavy traffic jams, operator SBS Transit announced Saturday night, saying via Twitter that service had returned to normal after about four hours. Elsewhere, buses operated by Tower Transit were delayed up to 120 minutes on Friday evening. 

Singaporeans stuck in jams weren’t shy about blaming the marathon, including Selwyn Koh on Facebook.

You organize a run in the heart of Singapore, closing roads in the [central business district], Marina area, Keppel area, and some parts of West Coast and East Coast from 1:30 pm. Sure,” Koh wrote in a post shared more than 2,000 times.

He said the race’s timing was inconsiderate of the impact.

“You then take it a step further by choosing a Saturday for your race, and a flag-off time from 6pm, with many of the major roads closed from 1pm till 1:30 am the next day. This, I’m afraid, is a decision that reeks of nothing but stupidity and selfishness. One look at the full listing of roads that are scheduled to be closed and anyone with a brain will know that it’s going to be a disaster.”

More than 50,000 people were registered for the marathon, but it was far from the only big weekend event. There was also U2’s first concerts in Singapore, staged two nights at the National Stadium, a three-day anime festival at Suntec City Convention Center and the Christmas Wonderland event that opened at Gardens by the Bay. Orchard Road’s malls were also crowded with shoppers looking for Black Friday bargains. 

“It’s less than a month to Christmas, and there are events happening all over the island … To all my friends who were affected by the road closures with every other person posting on social media, I really do feel for you. I was caught in the dreaded jam too,” he added in his post, which included a Google Map screenshot showing indications of heavy traffic jams happening at Victoria Street, the Benjamin Sheares Flyover, and New Upper Changi Road.

Photos posted online showed traffic at a standstill in areas including Harbourfront and Bugis.

Traffic at a standstill near Harbourfront. Photo: Gina Ng/ Facebook
Traffic jam seen from a double-decker bus. Photo: Kevin Tan/Facebook

Those leaving Sentosa island were also affected by the jams, according to a Paul Chen on the running event’s Facebook page. 

To those planners, do you know that your event causes a lot of inconveniences to a lot of people? For eg, stuck in traffic for 1.5 hrs on the way out of Sentosa? You guys should run at Lim Chu Kang in the future!” he wrote.

Another also suggested the organizer pick a more remote area for their events in the future. 

“This road closure is more than the F1 race. Please organize your run at other parts of Singapore next time where (there is) lesser traffic like Tuas and Lim Chu Kang,” user Martin Lee said. 

Standard Chartered Marathon organizers did not respond to Coconuts Singapore’s email inquiry at press time. 


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This article, Woeful weekend traffic as Singapore runs race, attends concert and shops, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!