IC plans to turn Rua da Felicidade pedestrianisation ‘long-term’

2024-05-01 03:25     BY Yuki Lei    Comment:1

The Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) is studying the feasibility of turning the ongoing “Rua da Felicidade” pedestrianisation trial run into a “long-term” project.

IC President Leong Wai Man said yesterday that since the commencement of the trial run of the Rua da Felicidade (“Street of Bliss”, home to Macau’s fabled “ladies of the night” in the past) pedestrianised area in September last year, the bureau has been listening to the views of all parties and reviewing the trial scheme, with a view to proactively promoting and optimising the pedestrianised area.

“During the trial run of the Rua da Felicidade pedestrianisation project in recent months, the foot traffic in the area has been on the rise, with 15 new businesses having moved to the area, showing the gradual improvement of the business environment there…… The bureau has received views that the businesses there would like to see the ongoing trial pedestrianisation scheme become a long-term project,” Leong said, who promised that her bureau will listen to more views and study the feasibility of converting the historic street into a long-term pedestrianisation area, but “we have not yet come up with a timetable for the time being”.

As part of the government’s joint revitalisation programme with the city’s six integrated resort (IR) operators, the Rua da Felicidade pedestrianisation scheme has been carried out by Wynn Resorts, covering the surrounding streets consisting of Travessa do Mastro, Travessa do Aterro Novo, Rua do Matapau and Travessa de Hó Lo Quai, with the “Street of Bliss” being the scheme’s core area. Currently, the whole area is pedestrianised daily from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., during which vehicular traffic is banned.

Leong pointed out that the ongoing revitalisation programme of Macau’s old quarters is one of the important tasks of the government in promoting the appropriately diversified, sustainable and high-quality development of the city’s economy: “The revitalisation of Macau’s six historic districts in collaboration with the six IR operators will help promote the linkage between culture and tourism, while playing the role of attracting synergistic development in the surrounding areas, thereby revitalising local neighbourhoods and boosting the community economy”.

In line with the government’s six new gaming concessions which stress the IR operators’ requirement to invest in non-gaming attractions, SJM, Galaxy, Wynn, MGM, Melco and Sands are taking part in the government’s programme to revitalise six historic areas in the peninsula, Taipa and Coloane, namely the Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro area, Coloane’s Lai Chi Vun Shipyards, the pedestrianisation of Rua da Felicidade, the Barra (Inner Harbour entrance) area,  Pier 23 and Pier 25 in the Inner Harbour district, and the Mount Fortress area, as well as Taipa’s erstwhile Iec Long Firecracker Factory.

Leong said that in the next phase, the bureau plans to restore the façades of about 10 buildings in the Rua da Felicidade area, and at the same time rectify or standardise the signboards and awnings, as well as the decorations set up in public areas, while further optimising the way and schedule of hosting activities there.

According to the bureau, the number of visitors to the pedestrianised area stood at, respectively, 53,000, 60,000, 65,000 and 114,000 during last year’s Mid-Autumn, National Day, Christmas and New Year’s Day, and Chinese New Year holidays. The wine promotion activities held between March and last month also attracted a large number of tourists to the Rua da Felicidade area, Choi Kin Lon, who heads the bureau’s Cultural Heritage Department, said yesterday.

The government-appointed Cultural Heritage Committee, chaired by Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U, held yesterday this year’s second plenary meeting at the Macau Cultural Centre (CCM) in Nape, during which the Cultural Affairs Bureau briefed the committee’s members on the implementation of the Rua da Felicidade pedestrianisation scheme and consulted them on the government’s exercise of priority over two assessed immovable properties. A press briefing was held following the 1 ½-hour meeting during which, among other things, Leong and Choi briefed the media about the bureau’s plan to turn the Rua da Felicidade area into a “long-term” pedestrianisation area.

Cultural Heritage Committee member Wu Chou Kit said during the press briefing that the majority of members were concerned about the ongoing Rua da Felicidade pedestrianisation pilot project, adding that the members were in favour of converting the pilot scheme into a long-term plan and supported the bureau in repairing the façades of the buildings in the pedestrianised area. 

Visitors and residents explore the “Rua da Felicidade” pedestrianised area yesterday. – Photo: Yuki Lei

Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) President and Cultural Heritage Committee Vice Chairperson Leong Wai Man (centre) and committee member and spokesperson Wu Chou Kit (left) as well as IC Cultural Heritage Department Chief Choi Kin Lon look on during yesterday’s press briefing after the government-appointed committee’s second plenary meeting this year, at the Macau Cultural Centre (CCM) in Nape. – Photo: Yuki Lei

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