The City of Sydney has announced plans to turn more of George Street into a pedestrian-only boulevard.

The people-friendly main street will create new spaces for businesses to operate, attract visitors back into the city centre and ensure everyone can move around comfortably, while maintaining physical distancing.

The new temporary street closures start Monday 20 July while Sydney City Council is proposing making these changes permanent.

Lord mayor Clover Moore says the COVID-19 pandemic called for a reimagining of public space and streets to prioritise people.

“As we cautiously return to the city while seeking to maintain physical distancing, wider footpaths and more space for people will be critical – to open up new opportunities for businesses, and crucially, to provide places for people to gather and get around safely,” says Moore.

“Areas around Haymarket, the Rocks and the city centre have been significantly impacted by the loss of workers, tourists and international students. Since the start of this pandemic, there has been an estimated 90 percent drop in the number of people on central Sydney streets.”

“We need to rebuild confidence and promote the return of activity in the city, and to do that we need to prioritise access for people to safely move around – so that we can remain vigilant and prevent a second wave of the virus,” she says.

To create better access for people walking, temporary traffic changes over the coming weeks, include:

  • Extending the current southbound lane closure of George Street between Bathurst and Campbell Streets to Rawson Place
  • Closing the northbound lanes of George Street between Ultimo Road and Bathurst Street
  • Closing Campbell Street at George Street
  • Closing the westbound lane of Hay Street between George and Sussex streets
  • Making Ultimo Road one-way westbound between George and Quay Streets.
  • The City will also change parking in surrounding streets to improve loading opportunities while local access to properties will remain.

Alongside the pedestrianisation and activation of south George Street, Council says it will take a number of steps to further support businesses recover and attract customers.