The city has transformed one of its major streets into a pedestrian boulevard in a $43.5m project to create a seamless, car-free path for people walking and dining in Sydney’s city centre.
The City of Sydney has completed a $43.5m project to create a seamless, car-free path. It creates more than 9,000m² of additional space for people walking and dining in Sydney’s city centre.
The pedestrian boulevard aligns with the light rail tracks running the full length of George Street from Haymarket to Circular Quay.
Vision for pedestrianisation
The boulevard runs from Bathurst Street to Rawson Place and has been supported with more than $1.1m from the state government and $7m from the federal government.
Lord mayor Clover Moore said the City has had a “long-held vision” for a fully pedestrianised George Street: “The work to turn noisy, traffic-choked 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 at Circular Quay, Town Hall and Railway Square, all linked by a light-rail and pedestrian boulevard.”
The City of Sydney further developed architect and urban design consultant Gehl’s idea as part of Sustainable Sydney 2030. In 2013, when the NSW Government agreed to the light rail project a concept design for George Street was adopted as part of the City of Sydney’s $220m contribution to the project.
“George Street has been completely transformed from a road clogged with buses and traffic to the thriving spine of our city”
“As we draw people back to our city in the wake of the Covid lockdowns, people can now move more freely from Hunter Street in the north down to Rawson Place in the south,” said Moore.
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 road clogged with buses and traffic to the thriving spine of our city where people can walk, linger, catch up with friends and enjoy a meal on the much wider footpath,” Stokes said.
“With Sydney buzzing again, people are embracing the changes we made during the pandemic and we will continue to look at ways we can improve the experience for all who visit our city.”
The lord mayor said the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of space and the need for more people-friendly streets, new spaces for businesses to operate outdoors, more space to attract visitors and ensure everyone can move around safely while maintaining physical distancing.
The City of Sydney is also working on several other public space transformation projects that will make its streets greener, safer for people walking and riding, calm traffic and create new opportunities for local businesses.
An extensive upgrade is planned for a 1km stretch of Crown Street from Devonshire to Oxford streets. The five-year, $33m Crown Street project is due to start in early 2023. It includes extensive footpath widening to create space for walking and outdoor dining.
A six-block refurbishment of Macleay Street in Potts Point is nearly complete and includes wider footpaths, new concrete paving, new lighting and smart poles, landscaping and new garden beds, seating, bins and bike racks. The project followed consultation with residents and businesses to help develop the best design for the area.