City street transformations create more space for people

The transformation of George Street into a pedestrian boulevard has been extended to create over 9,000m2 additional space for people in the city centre.

The final section of Sydney’s central spine was officially opened today by Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

The new pedestrian boulevard, from Bathurst Street to Rawson Place, is part of the City of Sydney’s $43.5 million project to create a car-free path to walk, eat and sit, and align with the light rail tracks the full length of George Street from Haymarket to Circular Quay. The project has also been supported by over $1.1 million from the NSW Government and $7 million from the Federal Government.

The Lord Mayor said the City of Sydney’s long-held vision for an all-pedestrianized George Street has come to fruition with the opening of George Street South Boulevard.

“Work to transform noisy, traffic-packed George Street into a pedestrian boulevard and central spine for the city began in 2007, when Jan Gehl’s report on public spaces suggested three city squares in Circular Quay, Town Hall and Railway Square, all linked by a light rail and pedestrian boulevard,” the Lord Mayor said.

“The city developed this idea as part of our Sustainable Sydney 2030 strategy and in 2013, when the NSW government agreed to the light rail project, we adopted a concept for George Street as the basis of our $220 million contribution to the project.

“Working together, we have achieved a beautiful and inviting boulevard that creates over 9,000 m2 additional space to allow people to move around the city center safely.

“It supports local businesses, gives hospitality venues the ability to operate outdoors, and provides a much more attractive environment for street-facing businesses.

“As we bring people back to our city following the Covid closures, people can now move more freely from Hunter Street in the north to Rawson Place in the south.

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, construction pauses, closures and recent unprecedented rains, I am delighted that this project was delivered in record time and with minimal disruption.”

Minister for Infrastructure, Cities and Active Transport, Rob Stokes, said Sydney’s streets were being reclaimed as places for people.

“George Street has been completely transformed from a busy bus and traffic lane to the thriving backbone of our city where people can walk, linger, catch up with friends and enjoy a meal on the trail much wider,” Stokes said.

“With Sydney buzzing again, people are embracing the changes we have made during the pandemic and we will continue to look for ways to improve the experience for everyone who visits our city.”

In addition to support from NSW and the Federal Governments, the City of Sydney has worked closely with a number of external stakeholders including Transport for NSW, ALTRAC and Transdev Sydney.

Arsene Durand-Raucher, chief executive of Transdev Sydney, operator of Sydney’s light rail system, said seeing the city continue to develop its open public spaces is a shared vision with the City of Sydney.

“Light rail is essential for reducing traffic congestion, creating friendlier streets and new spaces for businesses, and attracting people to the city,” said Durand-Raucher.

“Trams are quiet and can take much longer to stop than some people think. Learning to interact safely in these new open spaces will require people to remain alert and aware of their surroundings.

The Lord Mayor said the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of space and the need for friendlier streets, new spaces for businesses to operate outdoors, more space to attract visitors and ensure everyone can move around safely while maintaining physical distancing.

“It’s also about creating world-class streets in areas outside the city center that will become destinations in their own right and be enjoyed by generations to come,” said the Lord Mayor.

In addition to pedestrianizing George Street, the City of Sydney is working on several other public space transformation projects that will make our streets greener, safer for pedestrians and cyclists, calm traffic and create new opportunities for businesses. local.

A major upgrade is planned for a mile stretch of Crown Street from Devonshire to Oxford Streets. Crown Street’s five-year, $33 million transformation project is due to start in early 2023 and includes an extensive widening of the footpath to create space for outdoor walking and dining.

A six-block renovation of Macleay Street in Potts Point is nearing completion and includes wider pathways, new concrete paving, new lighting and smart poles, landscaping and new garden beds, seating , trash cans and bike racks. The project followed consultation with residents and businesses to help develop the best design for the area.

Over the past year, the City of Sydney has also completed 28 sidewalk improvements across Glebe, Forest Lodge, Ultimo, Erskineville, Beaconsfield, Newtown, Redfern, Waterloo, Alexandria, Surry Hills, Pyrmont, Millers Point, Woolloomooloo and improved pathways along Elizabeth, Phillip, Goulburn and Sussex streets in the city centre.

/Public release. This material from the original organization/authors may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors.

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