Better streets and spaces

George Street transformation takes shape

We’re getting ready to welcome you back safely to Sydney's city centre.

City of Sydney George Street South-first stage open

We’ve opened the first section of a pedestrian boulevard on the south part of George Street, creating wider footpaths for walking and new spaces for outdoor dining.

It’s part of the City of Sydney's commitment to open 9,000 square metres of car-free space to allow for physical distancing and more opportunities for businesses to operate.

The new pedestrian zone on George Street is now open between Bathurst and Goulburn streets. It’s the first step in a $43.5 million construction project.

We've created wider footpaths and more spaces for outdoor dining on George Street
We've created wider footpaths and more spaces for outdoor dining on George Street

Construction works on George Street began in March 2021 and are being completed in stages to minimise disruption to the community and should be completed early next year.

The project works include:

  • extended pedestrianised zones at the southern end of George Street between Bathurst Street and Rawson Place
  • open space improvements on George Street between Rawson Place and Pitt Street, Ultimo Road, Thomas Street and Hay Street
  • more than 9000 square metres of new space for walking
  • granite footpaths to replace car lanes
  • new street trees, seating and lighting
  • spaces for outdoor dining
  • simpler intersections to reduce travel times for everyone.

Local access and emergency services access will remain at all times.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the Covid-19 pandemic had shown the importance of public spaces and the need to prioritise space for people.

The first stage of a $43.5 million construction project on George Street is now open
The first stage of a $43.5 million construction project on George Street is now open

“When we cautiously return to the city while seeking to maintain physical distancing, wider footpaths and more space for pedestrians are critical,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Creating this space opens new opportunities for businesses, and, crucially, provides places for people to gather and get around safely.

“Areas around Haymarket, The Rocks and the city centre were significantly affected by the loss of workers, tourists and international students. We need to rebuild confidence and promote the return of activity in the city.

“To do that, we need to prioritise access for people to move around safely so we can remain vigilant and reduce the risk of virus outbreaks.

“By creating spaces along George Street that people can enjoy, we’re delivering our long-held vision of a world-class city centre, while also assisting the Covid-19 recovery.

“This is all part of our long-term vision to provide a calmer, more appealing environment for workers, visitors and residents and to generate a 24-hour city economy. Extending public space will also encourage people to walk through the city, which contributes to a healthy community and neighbourhood.”

Supported by representative body, Business Sydney, executive director Paul Nicolaou said the work would be critical in attracting people back into the city centre and creating new opportunities for local businesses.

“Helping the city centre revitalisation by bringing workers back to the city, opening up retail outlets and attracting visitors to our city streets is a vital step in Sydney’s economic recovery,” Paul said.

“This end of town has always been a bustling hub for entertainment, theatres, pubs and restaurants. But in the face of a steep Covid recovery for businesses, this is critical infrastructure work to make southern George Street a destination on a global scale.”

Published 22 September 2021, updated 6 October 2021