Improving local streets

The Chinatown public domain plan was formally adopted by the City of Sydney in 2010.

While we have been putting the plan into place to create a precinct that celebrates the unique character and heritage of Chinatown, recent significant changes in the southern part of the city centre present a need to update the plan.

We invited your feedback about the plan, which was open for comment until 30 September 2015. The feedback will be incorporated into a report for Council when it considers adopting the plan.

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

As we continue transforming Chinatown, we’re making traffic changes and other improvements in Thomas Street between Hay and Quay streets. This follows the successful upgrade of nearby 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.  

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.

So far we’ve installed these new features in Thomas Street between Hay Street and Ultimo Road:

  • decorative paving with concentric circles
  • boulders that are part of an integrated artwork
  • granite footpaths with trachyte kerbs
  • a signalised intersection at Thomas Street and Ultimo Road
  • smartpoles for traffic signals and lights.

Now we’re working on these features in the shared zone between Ultimo Road and Thomas Lane:

  • more smartpoles
  • more granite pavers
  • pits for new trees
  • more decorative paving and boulders as part of the integrated artwork.

We expect the project to be completed in February 2016.  


Gabriella Monagle
Project Manager
02 9265 9333

Downloads Document Downloads
Thomas Street concept design PDF 5.8 MB Download

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Last updated: Tuesday, 17 November 2015