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SPARKLING pavers and Japanese trees will feature in a $180 million redesign of Sydney's George St that hands 25,000sq m of car space over to pedestrians.
A $400,000 design strategy for George St has been endorsed by the City of Sydney in anticipation that, once the state government makes an announcement on light rail, the work will begin "swiftly".
It found George St had 39,780 pedestrians each weekday and the number was falling because "by national standards the footpaths are narrow and dysfunctional".
Currently overloaded with buses, noisy, choked and built with "low pedestrian priority", the report called for 1.4km of the 2.5km street to be car-free - between Liverpool and Bridge Sts.
There would be eight light rail stops along George St - at Rawson Place, Hay St, Liverpool St, Town Hall, Market St, Wynyard, Bridge St and Circular Quay.
It revealed the light rail would be battery-powered along the pedestrian zone to declutter the street and take away poles and wires.
The shelters would be "light floating planes" and it recommended that the stops have no advertising, no vending machines and no ticketing machines - with smart ticketing instead. The report will be sent to Transport NSW and put on public exhibition.
The pavers have been inspired by Sydney Harbour, named "sparkle", "ripple", "reflection" and deep water". The "sparkle" pavers will have stainless steel inserts while the selected tree is the Japanese zelkova, a deciduous tree that goes red in autumn.
"We haven't been told categorically by the state government (when an announcement will be made) - we are waiting on tenterhooks for an announcement," lord mayor Clover Moore said yesterday.
"When the government does make an announcement we will be ready for it. This work takes a very long time. It's for the whole of Sydney, not just for people who live in the area."
Ms Moore said trams would arrive every two minutes for people who arrive at Central - supporting tourism, retail, business and easing congestion.
"It's so important. This work is so important. It is a very important thing to spend the rates of businesses on," she said.
"Retailers are absolutely behind this. It's a no-brainer. That's why we are doing this work."
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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