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Paving the way for Covid recovery in the city centre

Written by City Reporter

Paving the way for Covid recovery in the city centre

The first section of the George Street South pedestrian boulevard was unveiled today by the City of Sydney, creating wider footpaths for people walking and new spaces for businesses to operate.

The new pedestrian zone on George Street between Bathurst and Goulburn Street is part of the ambitious $43.5 million project that will create 9,000 square metres of car-free space to allow for physical distancing and more outdoor dining.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the Covid-19 pandemic had shown the importance of public spaces and the need to prioritise space for people.

“When we cautiously return to the city while seeking to maintain physical distancing, wider footpaths and more space for pedestrians are critical,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Creating this space opens new opportunities for businesses, and, crucially, provides places for people to gather and get around safely.

“Areas around Haymarket, The Rocks and the city centre were significantly affected by the loss of workers, tourists and international students. We need to rebuild confidence and promote the return of activity in the city.

“To do that, we need to prioritise access for people to move around safely so we can remain vigilant and reduce the risk of virus outbreaks.

“By creating spaces along George Street that people can enjoy, we’re delivering our long-held vision of a world-class city centre, while also assisting the Covid-19 recovery.

“This is all part of our long-term vision to provide a calmer, more appealing environment for workers, visitors and residents and to generate a 24-hour city economy. Extending public space will also encourage people to walk through the city, which contributes to a healthy community and neighbourhood.”

Supported by representative body, Business Sydney, executive director Paul Nicolaou said the work would prove critical in helping to attract people back into the city centre and create new opportunities for local businesses.

“Helping the city centre revitalisation by bringing workers back to the city, opening up retail outlets and attracting visitors to our city streets is a vital step in Sydney’s economic recovery,” Mr Nicolaou said.

“This end of town has always been a bustling hub for entertainment, theatres, pubs and restaurants. But in the face of a steep Covid recovery for businesses, this is critical infrastructure work to make southern George Street a destination on a global scale.”

Construction works on George Street began in March 2021 and are being completed in stages to minimise disruption to the community. Localised works at the intersections north of Goulburn Street and major works south of Goulburn Street to Rawson Place are underway and should be completed early next year.

The project works include:

  • extended pedestrianised zones at the southern end of George Street between Bathurst Street and Rawson Place
  • open space improvements on George Street between Rawson Place and Pitt Street, Ultimo Road, Thomas Street and Hay Street
  • more than 9000 square metres of new space for walking
  • granite footpaths to replace car lanes
  • new street trees, seating and lighting
  • spaces for outdoor dining
  • simpler intersections to reduce travel times for everyone.

Local access and emergency services access will be maintained at all times.

The project is funded by the City of Sydney with support from the NSW and federal governments. You can read more about the project at city.sydney/george-street

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