Sydney’s George Street will be transformed into a world-class pedestrian boulevard in the coming years, in an attempt to bring people back to the heart of the city.
Totalling 9,000 square metres of car-free space along the George Street light railway route from Town Hall to Railway Square, the boulevard aligns with City of Sydney Council’s desire to create far more greener spaces throughout the city.
The $43.5 million project includes wider footpaths, more trees, new street furniture and extensive paving for walking and outdoor dining, and will provide a much-needed injection for the local economy post COVID-19.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore says the project was inspired by people ‘taking back’ the street whilst construction was being undertaken on the light rail link.
“We’ve loved seeing people reclaim George Street south while the temporary road closure measures have been in place. Now we want to make these measures permanent, giving people more space to window shop, dine and walk while maintaining physical distancing,” she says.
“This work will complete our long-held vision of turning George Street into a wonderful tree-lined pedestrian and light rail boulevard through the heart of our City.
“Extending this public space with permanent, quality infrastructure will make the whole area more appealing for workers, visitors, residents and local businesses and encourage walking through the centre of our CBD.”
The project is supported at all levels of government. The Australian Government will contribute $7.05 million for part of the project on George Street between Bathurst and Goulburn streets, with the NSW Government funding $1 million for the overall works.
Gabriel Metcalf, Chief Executive of the Committee for Sydney says the reworking of the street will enhance George Street’s reputation as one of the best streets in the world.
“George Street is becoming a magical place and a big draw into the city centre – it’s a place to enjoy public life in the city.
“It makes so much sense to extend that magic to the cultural anchor of Chinatown and the emerging tech hub around Central station. We’re excited to see the next phase of Sydney’s public space renaissance unfold.”
There are also plans to open up a new public space on Devonshire Street between Chalmers and Elizabeth streets in Surry Hills, with work set to start in 2022.
The works will be completed in stages to minimise disruption to people and businesses. Local access and emergency services access will be maintained.
Construction work is underway on the east side of the light rail tracks, near Bathurst Street, and will progress south on both the eastern and western sides, block by block, towards Railway Square.
Construction to the south of Goulburn Street is planned to start in late 2021. Work on Devonshire Street in Surry Hills is planned to start in 2022.
You can see plans for the works at city.sydney/george-street, along with details on construction timing and staging.