The City of Sydney’s transformation of George Street has entered a new stage, with works to complete its pedestrianisation set to begin.

The new works follow on from the 2020 revamping of George Street south, which is now a major pedestrian boulevard that has given city space back to visitors, business owners and residents. 

The City of Sydney will now begin work on the penultimate upgrades of the pedestrianisation project, as it finalises plans to extend the boulevard along George Street north from Wynyard to Essex Street, creating an additional 5,900m² of new pedestrian space. 

For these works to take place, George Street between Hunter Street and Grosvenor Street will be temporarily closed from 9 January 2023.

The City of Sydney will also propose making these changes permanent, with the plans now open for community feedback.

City of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, said once complete, the City’s vision of a reimagined city centre with a fully pedestrianised George Street, linked by three squares at Circular Quay, Town Hall and Central, will be one step closer.

“George Street’s transformation from a traffic clogged arterial route to a destination in its own right is nothing short of remarkable,” Mayor Moore said.

“We know our community wants the outstanding public spaces that projects like this achieve and I am incredibly proud to be overseeing this transformation, which, once finished, will have reclaimed more than 20,000m² of former roadway between Central and Circular Quay.

“In a post-Covid world, the role of public space in the heart of our city is vital as we strive to ensure a thriving, liveable and accessible city for all.

“It’s crucial that our streets prioritise people and enable walking and riding, as well as supporting businesses to take advantage of these new spaces through initiatives like outdoor dining.

“Following the pedestrianisation of George Street south, the City saw a jump in outdoor dining applications, with 18 made in just two months.”

The temporary traffic changes that will be introduced in January 2023 include:

  • No access for vehicles along George Street between Hunter Street and Grosvenor Street
  • The George Street intersections at Hunter Street, Margaret Street, Bond Street and Jamison Street will be closed
  • Footpaths on Margaret Street between George Street and York Street will be extended
  • Local access to properties will remain

The City of Sydney is now consulting with businesses and other key stakeholders and will incorporate their feedback into its final plans for the project.

Alongside the pedestrianisation and activation of George Street north, the City of Sydney will take a number of steps to further support businesses to recover and attract customers. These include:

  • Prioritising the business concierge service to support businesses in the city to open and operate safely
  • Continuing to waive any outdoor dining fees across the local area up until 30 June 2023 to encourage activation of space for community, cultural and commercial use while maintaining accessibility

The City of Sydney is also asking for feedback on plans to pedestrianise Loftus Street and Reiby Place in the city’s north.

The George Street plans will be open for public comment until 5pm on Thursday 10 November 2022.

Featured image: George Street North, artist’s impression. Image: City of Sydney.

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