Better streets and spaces

George Street south transformed into a pedestrian boulevard

There is now more than 9,000m² of additional space for people walking and dining in Sydney’s city centre.

George Street South pedestrianisation

The new pedestrian boulevard is part of the City of Sydney’s $43.5m project to create a seamless car-free path for walking, dining and seating.

It aligns with the light rail tracks running the full length of George Street from Haymarket to Circular Quay.

The new boulevard runs from Bathurst Street to Rawson Place and has been supported with more than $1.1m from the state government and $7m from the federal government.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City of Sydney’s long-held vision for a fully pedestrianised George Street has been realised with the opening of the George Street south boulevard.

“The work to turn noisy, traffic-choked George Street into a pedestrian boulevard and central spine for the city began in 2007, when Jan Gehl’s report on public spaces suggested 3 city squares at Circular Quay, Town Hall and Railway Square, all linked by a light-rail and pedestrian boulevard,” the Lord Mayor said.

The City of Sydney further developed Gehl’s idea as part of Sustainable Sydney 2030. In 2013, when the NSW Government agreed to the light rail project a concept design for George Street was adopted as part of the City of Sydney’s $220 million contribution to the project.

“Working together, we have completed a beautiful and inviting boulevard that creates more than 9,000m² of additional space for people to move safely around the city centre,” the Lord Mayor said.

“As we draw people back to our city in the wake of the Covid lockdowns, people can now move more freely from Hunter Street in the north down to Rawson Place in the south.

Minister for Infrastructure, Cities and Active Transport Rob Stokes said Sydney’s streets were being reclaimed as places for people.

“George Street has been completely transformed from a road clogged with buses and traffic to the thriving spine of our city where people can walk, linger, catch up with friends and enjoy a meal on the much wider footpath,” Stokes said.

“With Sydney buzzing again, people are embracing the changes we made during the pandemic and we will continue to look at ways we can improve the experience for all who visit our city.”

Light rail on George Street near Sydney Town Hall. Photo: Abril Felman / City of Sydney
Light rail on George Street near Sydney Town Hall. Photo: Abril Felman / City of Sydney

The Lord Mayor said the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of space and the need for more people-friendly streets, new spaces for businesses to operate outdoors, more space to attract visitors and ensure everyone can move around safely while maintaining physical distancing.

More street upgrades to come

The City of Sydney is also working on several other public space transformation projects that will make our streets greener, safer for people walking and riding, calm traffic and create new opportunities for local businesses.

An extensive upgrade is planned for a 1km stretch of Crown Street from Devonshire to Oxford streets. The 5-year, $33m Crown Street project is due to start in early 2023. It includes extensive footpath widening to create space for walking and outdoor dining.

A 6-block refurbishment of Macleay Street in Potts Point is nearly complete and includes wider footpaths, new concrete paving, new lighting and smart poles, landscaping and new garden beds, seating, bins and bike racks. The project followed consultation with residents and businesses to help develop the best design for the area.

Published 9 June 2022, updated 14 June 2022