George Street Transformation
Sydney’s senior leaders back City plan to fix George St
Sydney’s most senior leaders have thrown their weight behind the City of Sydney’s plan to pedestrianise George Street (between Bathurst and Hunter Streets) as part of the introduction of light rail.
The Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) and The Committee for Sydney – whose members represent the most significant organisations across all sectors – today urged the NSW Government to work in close partnership with the City to improve Sydney and help shape its future.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City’s plan to increase retail space, improve the movement of people across the city centre and transform the pedestrian, shopping and dining experience in George Street would ensure Sydney kept in step with other global cities such as London, New York and Paris.
Margy Osmond, CEO of ANRA and the City of Sydney’s Retail Advisory Panel, said: “Retailers will already be taking the prospect of an attractive pedestrianised George Street via the proposed development, into their business plans for the coming years.
“We are now seeing investment in high quality retail as befitting a global city of Sydney’s stature and we want to see even more.
“Retailers will be looking to the State Government to make a rapid decision on this issue so they can move forward with their plans for development, which the whole city will benefit from.
“We look forward to working with the Government and the Council to create a central business district with the hum of shopping, entertainment and the vibrant feel of other world cities.”
Committee for Sydney CEO Chris Jordan said: “Central Sydney needs to work more effectively and efficiently if the rest of the city is going to work.
“Light rail and more space for pedestrians has internationally resulted in cities which are more attractive for employment, and there is no reason why Sydney shouldn't be any different."
The Lord Mayor said: “We want Sydney to be an easy city to get around in – for the millions of motorists, bus passengers, cyclists and pedestrians who are in our city every day.
“Right now congestion is crippling Sydney and it’s not going to get any better unless we radically rethink the way our city works and how people move around.
“Sydney is Australia’s international gateway for business and tourism - it’s essential we have a world class transport system to support our strong and growing economy and attract international conferences and events.
“George Street is the backbone of our city and it needs an urgent make-over if it is to deliver on its potential.
“Running every two minutes, trams will integrate with buses and CityRail trains, reliably moving thousands of people across the city every hour without today’s noise and delays.”
The City of Sydney is supporting the NSW Government in bringing light rail to George Street with $180 million to double the amount of space for pedestrians, upgrade public squares, add new street trees and information signage, introduce innovative public art, street furniture and revitalised laneways.
After consulting extensively with all property owners along George Street over the past 12 months, the City has developed a plan and new animation which provides a glimpse of a future George Street connected by a fast and efficient light rail system at the heart of a transformed city centre.
Feedback including retaining access to buildings as well as access for delivery vehicles and taxis on George Street has been incorporated as part of the plan.
Major global retailers including Paspaley Pearls, and Ipoh, who have flagship stores in George Street, warmly welcomed the transformation plans.
General Manager of the Paspaley Global Retail Group, Richard Broug, said: “George Street has a long way to go before it can claim to be Sydney’s premier street and a world class thoroughfare – presently the amount of heavy traffic on George Street detracts from the great shopping boulevard it could become.”
Victor Gaspar, Group General Manager of Ipoh - which manages the QVB and owns the Strand Arcade and The Galeries on George Street – added: “We welcome continual investment and development of the Sydney CBD as such efforts will attract more visitors, keep the city vibrant and increase the city’s appeal.”
Central Sydney contributes a quarter of NSW’s GDP, and eight per cent of the Australian economy.
But congestion is holding back productivity, costing businesses and residents across Sydney $3.7billion a year. This is expected to rise to $7.8 billion by 2020.
The City is holding a free, public Transforming Sydney City Conversation hosted by the Lord Mayor in Sydney Town Hall from 6.30pm on Monday (May 21). A panel of industry representatives from transport, tourism, retail, property and small business will explore how light rail, laneways, retail and night time activity will revitalise the heart of our global city.
Sydney's congestion and transport woes are steadily worsening, leaving our city centre choked and unappealing.
To get Sydney moving again, the City is working with the community and government to bring light rail to George Street, and to restore the heart of our City as a great place to visit, live, work and do business.
We are Australia’s only global city. Sydney is the gateway to Australia’s tourist industry. The City of Sydney services the needs of over one million people who live, work and visit our City every day.
George Street is the backbone of Sydney, stretching from Central to Sydney Harbour.
It is the heart of Australia’s financial, educational and tourist industry. The inner city contributes almost a quarter of the State’s GDP.
But our growing population, and the under-funding of public transport over many years by state governments, has strangled traffic, led to crowded footpaths and unbearable noise.
Why light rail for George Street?
The City of Sydney has a unique opportunity to contribute to the NSW Government’s light rail project and transform George Street into a world-class main street, worthy of Australia’s only global city.
We have offered to work with the NSW Government by committing $180 million to the light rail project. The City will fund new pedestrian spaces, new information signage, upgraded public squares, new street trees and innovative public art. We will provide much needed breathing space in the heart of the City.
Light rail will unlock Sydney’s potential and strengthen George Street as a transport corridor. Modern trams will reliably and comfortably move thousands of people every hour - without the noise and delays.
Running every two minutes, trams will make connections to buses and CityRail trains fast and hassle-free. Wide footpaths and car-free blocks will make walking faster, safer and easier, and provide new opportunities to enjoy Sydney’s climate by dining outside.
Areas of George Street will be pedestrianised between Hunter and Bathurst Street, with local access maintained for all buildings with driveways from George Street.
East-west roads will remain open to all vehicles with local access maintained for delivery vehicles and also taxis servicing the Hilton.
George Street will offer a simple and user-friendly way to get between key attractions - from the Rocks and Circular Quay to the City's retail heart and on to Chinatown. Light rail will also link our world-class hotels to the planned new Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.
A better functioning George Street
Transforming George Street will bolster Sydney’s position as an innovative city able to attract new investment and a talented workforce.
Our plan for George Street is fully budgeted and has been warmly welcomed by leading businesses who are currently being held back by the congestion, noise and pollution.
We need to take decisive action now to support the additional 300,000 people we expect in Sydney each day by 2030.
We anticipate there will be another 1,800 buses on our roads every day to service our growing population.
Congestion will choke our city if we do nothing. Residents, workers and visitors already make over a million trips to, from and within the city every day, and this will keep on growing.
We need a coordinated approach to transport to keep Sydney moving. We want to work constructively with the NSW Government to make it much easier for people to move in and around our City.
Connecting our City
The City of Sydney has released a forward thinking report ‘Connecting our City’ which outlines a number of targets that complement the NSW Government’s State Plan transport targets.
The City's targets include the following:
A five per cent reduction in public transport travel time to the city by 2020;
Reduced pedestrian delays at the city’s 20 most important intersections by 10 per cent;
Improved speed of on-street public transport by 10 per cent by 2015;
Sufficient on-and-off street loading capacity for commercial vehicles;
An eight per cent increase in public transport capacity by 2015 and 35 per cent by 2036;
10 per cent of local trips by bike and 50 per cent by walking by 2030;
All major land-use developments to have approved and funded transport plans by 2015.