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City Transformation

City Transformation

Submissions report

The submissions report for the CBD and South East Light Rail Project is now available following the consultation period in 2013.

View report

Light rail construction standards

The City of Sydney and Transport for NSW have signed a development agreement that sets out the standards for the construction of light rail through the local area, which the City is contributing $220 million towards.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the agreement was a major milestone for the project, which will return 40% of George Street in the city centre to pedestrians and make it a "beautifully designed space", free of noise from hundreds of buses that use the street every day.

"This agreement sets out the binding conditions for the project that will transform the city centre and Surry Hills.

"The City has been working with design experts and with Transport for NSW to ensure our vision and design standards are delivered along the full route from Circular Quay to Moore Park," the Lord Mayor said.

The City has ensured the project will give residents and businesses on Devonshire Street in Surry Hills the best possible outcome after the NSW Government made it clear it is the preferred route from Central railway station, she said.

The light rail service will run from Circular Quay along George Street via Central railway station, along Devonshire Street in Surry Hills, through Moore Park to the University of NSW and to the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick.

The development agreement requires:

  • high design standards for paving, lighting, trees, smartpoles, street furniture and light rail stops
  • upgrading both footpaths along Devonshire Street with high-quality concrete tile pavers
  • high-quality new plazas and pocket parks where street closures are required onto Devonshire Street
  • a new park in Surry Hills to be dedicated as community lands on the Olivia Gardens site
  • minimising above ground infrastructure in Moore Park to maximise accessible open space
  • a pedestrian and cycleway connection as part of the new bridge to cross the Eastern Distributor
  • compliance with City codes and standards to meet urban design requirements
  • ensuring George Street from Bathurst to Hunter streets will be open to pedestrians
  • wire-free light rail from the pedestrian area between the Town Hall and Wynyard stops
  • exploring opportunities to mitigate the loss of on-street parking without affecting open space
  • pedestrian and property access is maintained during construction and construction impacts are minimised
  • potential future expansion of the light rail network to Walsh Bay/Barangaroo and Green Square.

You can download the signed development agreement below.

George Street transforms

The City welcomed the NSW Government's announcement that work will soon begin on a $1.6 billion light rail line, connecting Randwick with Circular Quay.

George Street will undergo one of the biggest transformations ever seen in Sydney when the light rail line is built. The City has committed $220 million to the project and will continue to work closely with the State Government.

Modern trams will run every 2 minutes during peak hour and make connections to busses and trains. Thousands of people will be moved every hour without the noise and delays of current transport infrastructure.

The main George Street strip will be pedestrianised between Hunter and Bathurst streets and footpaths will be widened. Existing driveway access for buildings will be maintained while roads travelling east and west will remain open to vehicles. Delivery vehicles and taxis servicing the Hilton will travel along George Street as normal.

Greater space for pedestrians along the street will mean cafés and restaurants can introduce outdoor dining areas.

The revamped George Street will become an easy way to travel between key attractions from The Rocks and Circular Quay to the city centre's retail heart and down to Chinatown.

Light rail will also link hotels to the renewed Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre when it's completed.

George Street concept design

The concept design, available for download below, sets out the principles intended to guide the new George Street plan. It includes the City's preferred options for street trees and furniture, paving, public art, lighting and signage. The concept design was adpoted by Council in September 2013.

Customs House hosted a temporary exhibition display 'Next Stop: 21st Century George Street', from 4 April to 3 May 2013.

The exhibition featured large display walls, image panels, banners, models and digital displays to showcase the City's vision for George Street. The feedback gathered from the exhibition was reported to Council and a consultation report was provided to Transport for NSW in September 2013.

Transport for NSW details more information on current works being undertaken, including surveying and investigative works.


Kristina Kalnins
02 9265 9333


Sydney Your Say: George StreetSydney Light Rail: Current works

City Transformation and light rail

City Transformation aims to unlock the city centre’s potential so it becomes a place people will want to go – a place that welcomes everybody.

The initiative comprises a combination of programs and civic improvements (capital works) that will help central Sydney become more liveable, vibrant and connected.

Crucial to this is the introduction of light rail in George Street, which will dramatically improve city amenity, particularly in and around George Street.

Benefits of City Transformation

Extensive community consultation on our vision for George Street to support the NSW Government's plans for light rail higlighted a firm desire for a well-designed, attractive plaza lined with trees, street furniture and public art.

A report on the plans for George Street received feedback from 645 people, with 56% of comments positive, 26% offering suggestions and 18% were negative.

Frequent themes that emerged from the consultation included:

  • high level support to remove buses and install light rail to improve pedestrian access
  • excitement about George Street becoming a new destination to meet, socialise, dine and shop
  • support for a visually attractive 'wire-free' light rail system in pedestrian areas
  • using trees and public art to create a sense of space along what will become Sydney's major boulevard.

The George Street Concept Design Plan, available for download below, details more about the vision for a revitalised George Street.

The City is working with Transport for NSW to finalise the project design to ensure it delivers the best possible outcome.

City Transformation projects

Light rail

Transport for NSW's Environmental Impact Statement for the Sydney CBD and South-East Light Rail Project was on public exhibition until 16 December 2013 and the public was invited to make submissions. Submissions closed on 31 December 2013. The City's response to the EIS is available for download below.

The NSW Government has determined light rail is a viable transport option for Sydney. In reaching its decision, the NSW Government reviewed the growing pressures on Sydney including population growth, the impacts of congestion on the City’s economy and liveability, as well as improvements needed in the local area’s public transport network. You may notice some investigative works taking place around the proposed light rail route, such as surveying and paint marking activities.

Public art

Public art commissioned under the City Centre Public Art Plan that includes George Street, available for download below, will play a major role in the transformation. The City will invest more than $9 million over the next 10 years in public artworks to breathe new life into streets, squares and laneways. Renowned international curator, Barbara Flynn, has prepared a plan for central Sydney that could see a spectacular artwork span the length of George Street, public art across the main east-west connecting streets and artworks in partnership with cultural organisations and private developers.

Laneway revitalisation

We are also working to attract small businesses to further activate our streets and lanes through continuing our program of laneway upgrades and revitalisation. We have already been successful in advocating for changes to licensing laws to allow small bars and restaurants that are reshaping central Sydney’s nightlife. City Transformation also includes the future delivery of major public squares at Town Hall, Railway Square and Circular Quay.

Revitalising George Street

See how light rail and space for people will revitalise George Street in Sydney as a great place to visit, live, work and do business.

A 1906 bird's-eye view of George Street

If we could have light rail then, we can have it now.

Last updated: Friday, 14 March 2014