Dhoby Ghaut area upgraded from 2025, with part of Orchard Road becoming car-less & Istana Park made 3 times larger

A portion of Penang Road — a one-way road with up to five lanes — will be made two-way.

Andrew Koay | September 11, 2022, 05:17 PM

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A 500m stretch of Orchard Road — the section running in front of Plaza Singapura, the Istana and Concorde Hotel — will be pedestrianised as part of a broader project to redevelop Dhoby Ghaut.

According to The Straits Times (ST), plans for the area include an extension of the Istana Park, making it three times larger and integrating the neighbouring Dhoby Ghaut Green and Penang Road Open Space.

The Istana Park is currently 1.3 hectares.

The work will be completed progressively from 2025.

More facilities and activity spaces

To facilitate the pedestrianisation of the section of Orchard Road between Handy Road and Buyong Road, a portion of Penang Road — a one-way road with up to five lanes — will be made two-way.

As part of the facelift, ST cited the National Parks Board (NParks) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in reporting that the area will be remoulded to include:

  • An orchid-themed garden
  • A flexible activity space
  • A nature-play garden featuring a water-play area
  • Integration with the Istana's entrance

Artist Impression of Nature Play Area via NParks

Spaces currently not well utilised

The enhancement of Dhoby Ghaut was mentioned in URA's 2019 Masterplan.

It was reiterated in plans announced in 2020 to turn Orchard Road into a "lush green corridor".

At the time, URA wrote that the changes would bring "greater vibrancy into the entire area".

"Some of the activities for the area can include both small- and large-scale events such as pop-up stores and major festivals and celebrations to enliven the area and enhance visitor experience."

Speaking at the unveiling of the plans in February 2020, DPM Lawrence Wong (who was at the time Minister for National Development) noted that the Istana Park, Dhoby Ghaut Green, and Penang Road Open Space were not very well utilised.

"They are somewhat isolated spaces, flanked by major roads on both sides; so accessibility is an issue."

"With this rejuvenation of Orchard Road, we see an opportunity to turn these three parks into a major green node in Orchard Road," he added.

In August 2022, Chinese media Lianhe Zaobao reported that NParks had called a tender for consultancy services for the enhancement of Orchard Road's green spaces.

Correction note on Sep. 12, 2022: A previous version of the headline misstated that the upgrade will be completed by 2025. The upgrade will be completed progressively from 2025, and we have corrected the headline accordingly.

Top image from Google Maps and via NParks