Lord Mayor Clover Moore today backed the State Government's announcement that George Street is the best route for light rail in the city centre.
The Lord Mayor also reaffirmed the City's $180 million commitment for public domain works in George Street if light rail proceeds and a section of George Street is pedestrianised.
"Everyone knows light rail is the solution to the gridlock," the Lord Mayor said.
"Today's announcement that George Street (from Central to Circular Quay) is the optimal route for light rail in Sydney confirms what we have been saying for years."
"Running light rail along George Street will drastically reduce traffic congestion, making it easier for bus passengers, cyclists and pedestrians to get around the city."
"Light rail can carry up to 8000 people an hour - a modern, low-floor tram will get more people across the city faster with low environmental impacts."
The Lord Mayor said the City's research showed that the George Street route is convenient to all areas of Central Sydney and would be easy to negotiate for locals and visitors.
"The route has excellent interchanges with buses, ferries and trains while also passing by key tourism and retail attractions including the QVB, Chinatown and Circular Quay," the Lord Mayor said.
"It's also easier to build a light rail line down George Street compared to other streets, with fewer traffic impacts and engineering challenges. Only a small number of driveways directly open onto George Street and there are no steep grades, sharp bends or difficult crossfalls."
The City has committed $180 million to be spent on widened footpaths, better lighting and signage, drainage, landscaping, traffic management and revitalising laneways.
"As part of the project we believe George Street should be pedestrianised between Bathurst Street and Hunter Street," the Lord Mayor said.
"George Street will flourish if we remove the traffic congestion currently choking it. We want to open up a network of vibrant lanes and small plazas that encourage shops, bars and other small businesses to thrive."
"It's good news for local businesses - around 42 per cent of New Yorkers reported shopping in the neighbourhood more often since Times Square was pedestrianised."
"Congestion costs Sydney businesses and residents an estimated $3.5 billion a year, and that's projected to more than double to $7.8 billion by 2020."
"Doing nothing is not an option. Our train system is reaching capacity, bus passengers face major delays, our roads are grinding to a halt and our footpaths are overcrowded."
"I welcome the Government's commitment to a light rail network, because it's only in the context of a network that we can solve Sydney's urgent transport problems."
"The City will now start working with retailers and other businesses in the CBD to make sure they get the most benefit from the proposed network."
Media contact: Shehana Teixeira on 0418 238 373 or firstname.lastname@example.org