Improving local streets

The Chinatown public domain plan has now been formally adopted by the City of Sydney.

We will be putting the plan into place over the next few years to create a precinct which celebrates the unique character and heritage of Chinatown and creates more space for pedestrians, cyclists, public art and outdoor markets.

Transforming Chinatown

The plan is the result of consultation with the people who live, work and spend time in Chinatown.

It is also the result of detailed studies of the precinct which looked at current street quality, the shortage of gathering spaces, the ways people currently travel to and through Chinatown and how people spend time in Chinatown.

These studies have formed a plan which will:

  • improve street lighting to be decorative and create inviting and safe public spaces
  • improve the quality of street furniture so that visitors can spend time sitting and talking outdoors
  • add more trees to the precinct
  • add more public art to the area, both permanent and temporary
  • renovate key streets and laneways to create a network of attractive pathways to surrounding facilities such as Darling Harbour and Market City.

The public domain plan is available for download below. A video is available below outlining the City's plans for Chinatown.

Little Hay Street, Factory Street and Kimber Lane

These 3 small streets were upgraded in 2012.

The revitalisation of these streets has created a more generous and engaging pedestrian experience.

Shared zones and widened footpaths have encouraged people to visit the area, provided opportunities for gathering spaces and created a framework for new public art and decorative lighting.

Thomas Street between Hay and Quay streets

Improvements and traffic changes to Thomas Street between Hay Street and Quay Street are part of the second stage of transforming Chinatown. This follows the successful upgrade of Little Hay Street, Factory Street and Kimber Lane.

The design for the area includes:

  • a new public space on Thomas Street between Ultimo Road and Thomas Lane (artist's impression above)
  • widened footpaths, more street trees and shade to create a strong pedestrian environment
  • integrated artwork along Thomas Street comprising street furniture, paving materials and paving patterns as well as various cultural elements paying homage to traditional Chinese gardens and Australian identity. 
The following traffic changes are also proposed. To support the new public space on Thomas Street between Ultimo Road and Thomas Lane, traffic changes will include:
  • 10 km/h shared zone
  • a timed closure, where the space will be closed for certain periods of the day.
  • vehicular access will be via a left turn from Ultimo Road.

In addition:

  • 2 travel lanes on Thomas Street between Hay Street and Ultimo Road, with the additional left turn lane into Ultimo Road being retained.
  • From Ultimo Road, there will be no traffic permitted southbound into the proposed Thomas Street shared zone.
  • One-way southbound traffic on Thomas Street between Thomas Lane and Quay Street.
  • Adding 2 loading zones in the area, and removing 18 parking spaces on the western side of Thomas Street to allow for widened footpaths.

The City is developing detailed design plans for the Thomas Street transformation, with construction set to begin in mid-January 2015.


Gabriella Monagle
Project Manager
02 9265 9333

Last updated: Monday, 2 February 2015