(4pm, Wednesday 8 May 2013, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Haymarket)
Hello, everyone, welcome to this consultation on proposed improvements to Thomas Street. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nations who live in our City. A special welcome also to Cr Robert Kok.
In 2010, Council adopted a Public Domain Plan for Chinatown to improve this area. It is a unique area, an important cultural and social hub for residents and workers, and one of the most heavily visited parts of the City.
The Plan suggests a suite of improvements to streets and public spaces to be staged over the next 10 years.
The 10 projects will recover more public spaces for public life, increase amenity for pedestrians, and improve connections between key streets. We've already transformed Little Hay Street, Factory Street and Kimber Lane.
The Thomas Street work is the second stage of the plan.
In November 2011, we held a community information session to update you on this stage of the works, and to get your feedback on the proposals. We also later door-knocked surrounding residents who had not been at the session to ensure we'd spoken to everyone immediately adjacent to the site.
Most people welcome the idea of creating more public space, so long as access around the site could be managed so as not to disrupt surrounding businesses and residents.
The plans include a new public space on Thomas street between Ultimo Road and Thomas Lane; wider footpaths to create a strong pedestrian connection to the heart of Chinatown; new street trees and shade elements, and new public art, furniture and lighting.
Thomas Street will be a 10km shared zone with timed closures giving priority to pedestrians between Ultimo Road and Thomas Lane.
From the Ultimo Road intersection, there will be no through-traffic south into the Thomas Street shared zone but southbond traffic will travel one-way between Thomas Lane and Quay Street.
One travel lane will be kept on Thomas Street between Hay Street and Ultimo Road, with a left-turn lane into Ultimo Road.
The plan also proposes adding two loading zones in the area and removing 18 parking spaces on the western side of Thomas Street to provide space for wider footpaths.
You can see the plans on the panels here, and are project manager and designers are also here to answer any questions you may have.
Please take your time to look at the plans, and please give us your feedback.