Our research shows as many as 20,000 people in Darlinghurst in just four hours on a Saturday night - that's as many as Acer Arena!
It shows how popular the area is, but puts enormous stress on the local community and pressure on transport and other infrastructure that simply hasn't kept pace with the growth of the city's night life.
We need a coordinated approach to the city at night and, just like major celebrations such as New Year's Eve, Kings Cross needs to be run as an event, twice a weekend, every weekend. That means coordination between transport, licensing, police and other agenciesâ€”the City can't do it alone.
In consultation with local residents, businesses, late trading venues, accommodation services, NSW Police, government agencies and academics, the City has identified key priorities to transform Kings Cross at night.
- We need better and more public transport options on a Friday or Saturday night
- Most problems occur because people simply can't get home. Just try catching a cab at 3am on Bayswater Road on a Friday night
- We need frequent public transport options after the evening peak along existing routes, a doubling of Night Ride bus services and re-timetabling of late night weekend trains
- The secure taxi rank in Bayswater Road also needs better management in terms of crowd control, disorderly conduct and fare evasion.
- The State Government needs comprehensive measures to manage the growth of late night licensed venues in Kings Cross including the extension of the current liquor license freeze which expires on 24 June 2012
- Global cities such as New York, Paris and London have much tougher monitoring and management for late night venues than we do in NSW, and they are booming
- I have continually lobbied for the introduction of a licensing permit system across NSW which would require annual or bi-annual renewal of late trading. Renewable liquor licensing permits have been standard practice in other global cities for years
- A permit system would ensure good operators have nothing to fear but that the appropriate checks and balances are in place for poorly run premises.
- The City will work with the Kings Cross Liquor Accord to improve training for venue staff and work with Police and the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing to enforce safe and responsible management.
- The City is finalising a policy to encourage more late night options. Having more options - that do not involve alcohol - will create a safer and more balanced late night economy.
- Options include restaurants, late night library programming, pop up evening markets and late night cinema.
- The City will soon install an extra six CCTV cameras in the Cross in areas identified by Police as 'hotspots'
- The area needs more public toilets. We are looking into options, including our successful trial of portable pissoirs during the busy summer months
- The City is also looking at better lighting - we need more creative and functional lighting around Kings Cross.
- Our trial of late night Precinct Ambassadors over summer was a huge success. We support making the Ambassadors a permanent fixture in Kings Cross
- The City is working to keep the Tourist Information Kiosk open late at night in Springfield Mall.
These priorities are just part of a larger strategy the City is developing on Sydney's late night economy which will be released for public consultation in the coming months.
Kings Cross will always be an exciting late night destination - we also want it to be safe for both visitors and the residents who call it home.
There is no catch all solution for this - the answer isn't more or less regulation. It needs a comprehensive strategy that involves the City, State, community and the private sector working together.