Thousands of Chinatown pedestrians will soon have more space to walk and brilliant new artworks, thanks to a City of Sydney plan for a new public plaza.
The second stage of the City of Sydney’s Chinatown Public Domain Plan will create a gateway of dramatic circular shade sculptures suspended above Thomas Street, with a ‘moongate’ of splashed bronze in the pavement, iconic ‘scholar’ rocks and unique stone seating
Award-winning artist Lindy Lee will provide unique public art and visitors will benefit from a soothing green canopy of newly planted trees, widened footpaths and new street lights.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the transformation of Thomas Street would bring more people to Chinatown.
“We want to make Chinatown an even more attractive, enjoyable and interesting place for the many thousands of people who walk through our city every day,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Our plans for Thomas Street will create more space for pedestrians in the heart of Chinatown and give people a reason to stop, take a moment out of their busy day and enjoy the area.
“When we consulted local residents and businesses earlier this year about the proposal, more than 95 per cent supported the work.”
The improvements will be accompanied by traffic changes in the area to give pedestrians priority, including making Thomas Street a 10km/h shared zone with timed closures between Ultimo Road and Thomas Lane.
“The City’s plans for the upgrade of Thomas Street will continue to reinforce Sydney’s Chinatown as one of the best in the world,” the President of the Haymarket Chamber of Commerce, Brad Chan, said.
“The focus on improving pedestrian movements around the area and reinvigorating the public domain are exciting developments for an already vibrant precinct. I look forward to seeing the benefits of the upgrade extend into surrounding businesses and strengthening the local economy in Haymarket.”
Landscape architect Jane Irwin and architect Philip Thalis have worked with Chinese-Australian artist Lindy Lee and a team of designers – including a feng shui expert – over the past 12 months to develop the plans.
The Chinatown Public Domain Plan was launched in 2010 after comprehensive community consultation. It proposes a suite of improvements to support the rich local program of events, cultural experiences and public life on Chinatown’s streets.
The first stage of works was completed in early 2012. These included a $5 million makeover of three laneways in the heart of Haymarket – Little Hay Street, Factory Street and Kimber Lane – as well as the transformation of a disused pagoda at the northern end of Dixon Street Mall into a new information kiosk.
The City is now developing detailed design plans for the Thomas Street transformation, with construction set to begin in mid-2014.
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