Planning for the future

Vision to transform 3 big Sydney spaces

New plans for Town Hall, City South and Chinatown will help transform Sydney into a destination city.

Belmore Park credit Spackman Mossop Michaels (1)

Green avenues, slow streets and bustling promenades all feature in new designs that are set to transform Sydney’s Town Hall area, the south of the city centre and Chinatown precinct.

The plans approved unanimously by City of Sydney Council prioritise walking, bike riding and public transport. They also give businesses more room to operate outdoors, and green our city with more tree cover and plantings.

The pandemic has shown how important public spaces in the heart of our city are to provide solace and space for people to meet, dine outdoors and move around comfortably.

Central Square
Central Square

Among the priority projects outlined in the domain plans are a $5 million infrastructure investment in the historic Chinatown precinct and a $10 million upgrade of Belmore Park near Central station.

Over the next 6 months, the City of Sydney will work on detailed scoping, design and feasibility studies for related short, medium and long-term projects.

Transforming Chinatown’s public spaces

Chinatown has seen several major public place investments since 2010, thanks to the $43.5 million George Street south pedestrianisation project.

We’ve transformed Thomas Street in Haymarket into a people-friendly walkway and public space, with more trees, lighting, seating and an artwork.

An upgrade of Little Hay Street, Factory Street and Kimber Lane in 2012 also included laneway artwork, widened footpaths, more street trees and shade to create a more people-friendly environment.

We’ve now committed a further $5 million for improvements throughout the precinct. Dixon Street Mall will be revived with new seating and lighting, as well as a refurbishment of the famed Dixon Street gates.

On Quay Street, an important walking link from Central station to Darling Harbour, there are plans for wider footpaths, more trees, and lighting and furniture upgrades, as well as space for outdoor dining.

Longer term upgrades include:

  • footpath widening, more space for people walking and new seating on Sussex Street between Goulburn and Hay streets.
  • a separated cycleway and wider footpaths on Ultimo Road between Harris and Thomas streets.
  • wider footpaths and new seating on the east side of Harbour Street.

Revitalising the south of the city centre

Covering the area between Liverpool, George and Elizabeth streets through to Central station, this interim plan progresses design development for Belmore Park.

It also allows for further stakeholder consultation to develop a coordinated plan for Tech Central – a planned technology corridor for the area.

Plans for the 2.1 hectare Belmore Park will help create a safe and welcoming place, provide more opportunities for small events, and better connect to Central station.

Belmore Park. Credit: Spackman Mossop Michaels
Belmore Park. Credit: Spackman Mossop Michaels

Initial designs will expand park edges to the surrounding streets of Eddy Avenue, Hay Street and Pitt Street. This will establish a central activity area, move the bandstand to the heart of the park and add new trees, furniture, lights and paths, as well as new bus shelters and pedestrian crossings.

Other projects already underway or in planning include:

  • George Street south extension and the further pedestrianisation south of Rawson Street to the Pitt Street intersection at Railway Square.
  • the closure of Barlow Street and St Laurence Lane, which were approved as laneway priority projects by Council in September 2021.

Longer term plans include new slow streets that prioritise walking and riding, and laneways that will be developed along Campbell Street, St Laurence Lane, Parker Street and laneway, Randle Lane and Cunningham Street.

Further upgrades will include paving, street furniture and wayfinding along Castlereagh, Elizabeth, Goulburn, Regent and Chalmers streets.

Pitt Street. Credit: HASSELL
Pitt Street. Credit: HASSELL

Pitt Street would be transformed into a green promenade stretching from Central station to Circular Quay, with more trees and greenery, seating, outdoor cafés, fine grain shopfronts and space for entertainment.

Working with Transport for NSW, we want to prioritise people over cars, widening Pitt Street between Hay Street and Eddy Avenue and activate the old viaducts.

Broadway could become a green avenue, converting the city’s western gateway into a revitalised green link with more space for people, walking and cycling. This will support the area’s evolution into Sydney’s innovation and education precinct.

Footpaths could be widened to create more space for trees and people and more room for public transport linking Broadway and Parramatta Road.

In September 2020, Council endorsed plans for the development of Central Square and surrounding streets that will become the epicentre of an expanded Central Sydney by 2050 alongside a renewed Central station.

We'll continue to develop this plan with key stakeholders supporting the vision of Tech Central. The vision is for a vibrant, youth-focused area day and night, with green spaces for residents, visitors, public transport users, the university population and local workers.

Sydney Town Hall’s public spaces

We'll prioritise plans for a new Town Hall Square opposite Sydney Town Hall, on a site now occupied by the Woolworths building. A new square is at the heart of Sydney’s future civic centre, imagined as a contemporary space for public life and civic activity.

Sydney Square next to St Andrews Cathedral and Sydney Town Hall provide a significant backdrop to the square, offering a quiet place for local workers, visitors and shoppers. Proposed plans include upgrading paving, furniture and lighting consistent with George Street, with improved access to the underground shopping arcade and surrounding streets.

The completion of the new Metro station in Pitt Street changes the future role of Park and Druitt streets, with the opportunity to create a new green avenue and accommodate a large increase in people walking.

By encouraging vehicles to use the Cross City Tunnel, the surface could be transformed into a traffic-calmed avenue with more space for trees, people, public and active transport. This would complete the northern edge to the future Town Hall Square.

Published 2 November 2021

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