Sydney has unveiled a portion of the newly-pedestrianised George Street in preparation for the impending $2.1 billion CBD and South East Light Rail project.
The redesigned George Street is set to transform into a place for outdoor dining, late night shopping, art and culture with access to public transport but restricting common vehicular travel – making it safe and welcoming for Sydney’s foot traffic.
For now, it has started with the opening of two city blocks along George Street, which have been completely redesigned between King Street and Park Street.
Road surfaces have been replaced with the stone-paved track area and levelled with adjacent footpaths, while new underground services, light poles, street furniture and trees have been added.
“Our design approach for this project has been to focus on seamlessly integrating light rail works into the existing urban fabric of each precinct,” Aspect Studios studio director Kate Luckraft said.
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“This approach will result in public spaces that provide a high level of amenity to pedestrians, maximise tree planting and allow easy access through the precinct, as well as onto the light rail stops.”
When complete, this new pedestrian zone will extend from Bathurst Street through to Hunter Street, with four city blocks upgraded with new paving and urban elements between the light rail stops at Town Hall, QVB and Wynyard.
Along the new pedestrian zone, the street has been made level with the footpaths, paved in dark grey granite, with the rails set in a ribbon of light grey stone for increased visibility.
Only approved local traffic vehicles will be permitted in the pedestrian zone where pedestrians and light rail vehicles will be given priority.
Aspect studios has used the City of Sydney’s public domain furniture palette of seating, garbage bins, pedestrian light poles, water fountains, tree guards/grate throughout. This furniture palette, designed for the city by Tzannes, has two suites of elements— stainless steel for the city centre, and a ‘bronze’ suite for surrounding suburbs and "villages".
The street’s redesign is part of the CBD and South East Light Rail project, which is a 12km route that will feature 19 stops, extending from Circular Quay along George Street to Central Station, through Surry Hills to Moore Park, then to Kensington and Kingsford via Anzac Parade and Randwick via Alison Road and High Street.
Construction is expected to be completed in 2019.
The New South Wales Government opened the new pedestrian area on George Street with a Christmas theme, adding six gigantic wreaths and more than 5000 lights.