Shoppers throng Chinatown CNY bazaar; gridlock at 2 intersections listed as ‘very crowded’ on live map
SINGAPORE – On the first day that the police had put up a live map on the crowd size at the Chinese New Year (CNY) bazaar in Chinatown, two intersections at the heart of the festivities came close to the threshold for being locked down for safety reasons.
- Two intersections at the heart of the Chinese New Year (CNY) bazaar in Chinatown came close to being locked down for safety reasons on Friday (Jan 13)
- They were the intersections between Smith Street and Trengganu Street, and Temple Street and Trengganu Street
- When TODAY arrived at the bazaar at 6.30pm, every area on the live map showing crowd size was lit green, indicating it was not crowded
- But from 8pm to 10pm, the crowd reached its peak and people were standing shoulder to shoulder
SINGAPORE — On the first day that the police had put up a live map on the crowd size at the Chinese New Year (CNY) bazaar in Chinatown, two intersections at the heart of the festivities came close to the threshold for being locked down for safety reasons.
They were the intersections between Smith Street and Trengganu Street, and Temple Street and Trengganu Street.
When TODAY arrived at the bazaar at 6.30pm on Friday (Jan 13), every area on the map was lit green, indicating it was not crowded.
But from 8pm to 10pm, the crowd reached its peak as throngs of people flooded the bazaar.
People were standing shoulder to shoulder as the crowd moved at a slow pace, with only a few small pockets of empty space around the packed intersections for people to exit from the crowd.
This was reflected on the crowd map, with orange spots indicating the intersections as "very crowded" — just one level away from being locked down.
The police had put up the live map as they anticipated large crowds for the second weekend of the bazaar.
It was also to inform the public of which areas to avoid due to closures when the crowd limit was reached.
A similar online crowd map was set up by the police during the Marina Bay countdown earlier this month.
Throughout the night on Friday, sections of the live map at Chinatown oscillated between green, yellow and orange, denoting different levels of crowd density.
At no point did any part of the crowd map turn red, which would have meant that an area had been closed off due to high crowd density.
Ms Amelia Er, one of the stallholders near the intersection of the bazaar, said she was unaware that crowd diversions would be carried out if the crowd threshold was met.
“I’ve seen the auxiliary police officers walking around but I didn’t know there could be closures,” she said.
“I’m definitely afraid that the crowd diversions will affect my business, but what can I do? If there’s an area closed, hopefully they’ll provide people with another route to come in.”
At the busiest point of the night, the fastest way to manoeuvre through the streets was by walking through the corridors of the shophouses behind the bazaar stalls.
Most shoppers, however, did not seem to mind the fact that they had to slowly waddle behind other patrons as they walked through the busy streets.
Ms Cheryl Sim, 34, said that she and her family go to the bazaar every year to see the Chinatown light display, feel the atmosphere and buy CNY goodies.
She added that they are not deterred by the big crowds, and that these are to be expected.
Mr Lee Jun Le, 31, who was visiting the bazaar for the second time, quipped: “If I'm here because I want to be there, I don't think (crowd density) is going to be much of a factor for me to consider.”
Some shoppers found the crowd to be the most enjoyable part of the bazaar, such as Ms Yvonne Wee.
The 60-year-old said: “Big crowds are expected, it's sure to be crowded unless you come at lunchtime, which is super hot. The crowd is actually where the fun is”.
She knew about the crowd map but did not feel the need to use it. “If you want to come, you will not let the crowd stop you.”