Singapore

Large crowds expected in downtown Singapore at the weekend

Congestion warning as four major events, headlined by Irish rockers U2, converge on heart of the city

The downtown city area will be bustling this weekend with four major events taking place at the same time: the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM), U2 Joshua Tree Tour, C3 Anime Festival Asia (AFA) and Gardens by the Bay's Christmas Wonderland.

This rare convergence of schedules is expected to see hundreds of thousands throng the area. The respective organisers have moved to advise event-goers of the potential congestion.

Previous editions of the SCSM usually saw the event begin before dawn. But this year's 42.195km marathon, half-marathon and Ekiden relay races will flag off at 6.05pm at the F1 Pit Building tomorrow.

The shift is to fulfil various criteria in the organisers' bid to get the SCSM listed among the Abbott World Marathon Majors, a series of the most prestigious marathons in the world.

Major road closures will begin from 1pm on race day, starting at the Marina Centre zone, and normal traffic activity will resume by noon on Sunday, after the 5km and 10km races.

"We've worked closely with stakeholders and the authorities to ensure the spectator zones, and start and finish lines are easily accessible by public transport," said Mr Geoff Meyer, managing director of Asia for the Ironman Group, which manages the SCSM.

He added that besides the participants, organisers are expecting more than 100,000 supporters to attend the event.

Marathon participant Gwen Lim, 38, said she intends to drive to the event but added: "I'm a little bit apprehensive because I might have trouble finding parking (spaces). I've checked the apps and where to park, but I don't know how tired I will be walking back to where I parked after a full marathon.

"But everyone I know who's participating is excited to see how this night race turns out."

About 50,000 are expected to take part. This is roughly the same crowd size expected tomorrow and Sunday at the National Stadium for the U2 Joshua Tree Tour.

Partly because of the road closures for the SCSM, concert-goers are advised to use public transport and arrive at least two hours before the Irish rock band's show.

More event-goers are expected at the three-day C3 AFA Singapore, which starts today at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre. Last year's event attracted over 105,000 people, and AFA festival director Shawn Chin said organisers are expecting "the same, if not better" visitorship.

The sixth edition of Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay also opens today. In 2015, the month-long event drew 1.2 million people.

COMMUNITY ISSUES