Every weekend, Newtown locals gather to eat, shop and simply enjoy each other’s company on King Street. The footpaths are bustling and traffic crawls at such a slow place it’s quicker to walk. It’s an experience that draws people from across the city.
Plenty of places take this kind of city life even further. In NYC, entire avenues are transformed into vibrant spaces for people on a Sunday morning, fully supported by local businesses. Bogotá’s huge Ciclovia event, every Sunday morning, covers around 120km of city streets, attracting a million people. And there are so many more: Jakarta, Mexico City, Portland, New Delhi, London, LA.
Encouraging more of that vibrancy in our everyday lives across Greater Sydney is the focus of series we’re working on at the Committee, and particularly with this fourth proposal championed by Chris Tooher, Executive Director of the Sydney Festival.
We’ve already seen the success of post-covid recovery initiatives to open up high streets across Sydney that were efficient, low on infrastructure, and embraced community ownership.
Now we’re proposing to continue this great trend by identifying high streets where regular open street events can occur, whether monthly or weekly, as long as it serves the local community, businesses and residents. We should keep it simple and affordable, allowing these events to grow organically in response to community demand and aspirations.
That’s the simple and impactful vision we’re putting forward, and we’re encouraging local and state governments to initiate a few key changes to bring this vision to life:
- Install automatic rising bollards on high streets and in some lanes
- Consult with local businesses and get them on board
- Simplify Traffic Committee approval processes
- Make generic event notification plans and traffic management plans
- Avoid the temptation to include a stage or event program.