The proposal for the South East Light Rail could be the first major step in the redevelopment of George Street.
An emerging study conducted by the
City of Sydney has illustrated the benefits that introducing light rail to George Street can have on retail stores and businesses.
In conjunction with the study,
The George Street 2020: a public domain activation strategy publication has been released, with its base principles focusing on an creating an efficient transport spine, a pedestrian focused boulevard, a legible spine, an iconic street, a 24 hour street and linking the city to the harbour. The strategy highlights guidelines on how factors such as seating, outdoor dining, cultural activities, 24 hour lighting, vending and building use can best function with the Light Rail section of the street; all the while aiming to transition and revitalise George Street to support the local economy.
Lord Mayor of Sydney Ms Clover Moore, supports the five-year plan, discussing the benefits of the Light Rail on George Street. “When the Light Rail project is complete in five years, George Street will feature a one-kilometer pedestrianised area between Bathurst and Hunter Streets…This transformation is a unique opportunity to ensure that George Street becomes a world class boulevard that is also a thriving business and retail environment,” Ms Moore said.
According to the
Daily Telegraph, Ms Moore mentioned there would be an adjusted road hierarchy behind the Light Rail, with pedestrianisation between Bathurst and Hunter Streets. “I think it’s critical for the future of Sydney,” Ms Moore said.
Since the Inner West Light Rail opened to the public in March 2014, plans for the CBD and South East Light Rail have been approved and construction is scheduled to commence in late April 2015 with the line predicted to be open for public use in 2019.
The plan entails that the Light Rail will run down the center of George Street, garnished with trees on either side and followed by a flex-zone in which street furniture and amenities such as bubblers and benches may be placed. The street will also host a 3.6-meter pedestrian area along buildings’ edges to avoid walkway congestion.
The proposed plan for the CBD and South East Light Rail is also intended to ease reliance on buses and hence ease congestion around the CBD.