After eighteen months of research, consultation and trials OPEN Sydney, our strategy to revive Sydney's night time economy, is ready to be finalised.
The policy, which will guide our efforts to create a city that is more diverse, welcoming, safe and successful, will be discussed at Council over the next two weeks.
This week I met with stakeholders including business owners, NSW Police, the Australian Hotels Association, Destination NSW and others to discuss the next stage of our plans.
Some of the ideas in OPEN Sydney have already been put in place. Residents told us that they were sick of people urinating on the streets. Over summer we've installed portable toilets which have collected over 5,000 litres of urine - an amount which would otherwise have ended up on walls, doorsteps and in parks.
The City is investigating the idea of permanent, hydraulic, self-cleaning toilets. During the day these toilets would be buried beneath the footpath, popping up at night when we know more toilets are needed. Cities like London are already using them.
We have established a program of Late Night Ambassadors along George Street and Kings Cross. These Ambassadors provide a friendly face, information and assistance to people looking for directions or needing advice on how to get home.
We have worked with the NSW Government to improve transport in Kings Cross. Once trains stops running from Kings Cross Station, a free shuttle bus now moves people from the Cross to Central Station - helping disperse crowds and reduce tension.
A secure taxi-rank on Bayswater Road, which includes a trial of pre-paid fare, has also helped people get home late at night.
Ideas to keep improving our night time economy include creating Australia's first 24hr library; encouraging businesses in the CBD to stay open later; promoting late night events in Sydney's museums and galleries; and improving lighting in our streets, laneways and parks.
Having more options creates a safer and more balanced late night economy attracting a wider range of people into the city centre.
This work ensures that we deliver on our Sustainable Sydney 2030 commitment - a City that is lively, well connected, has fine grain activation, is economically strong and an inviting by day and by night.
You can read our OPEN Sydney policy by visiting: sydneyyoursay.com.au/document/show/40