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George Street, Sydney
A section of George Street (Park St. to King St.) (map) has recently been transformed into a transit mall in preparation for Sydney's new L2 light rail line (City and Southeast) which will open in a few years. The construction in Sydney has been disruptive to traffic, to pedestrians, to retailers, (who will undoubtedly complain so long as there is compensation for complaining), but at least one part of it is mostly done. Not all of it is: the station is missing,
the catenary is missing, [update: the power supply is in the ground] the intersection tracks are missing. Well ok, it's mostly not done, but at least this part is open for the holidays. The section looks lovely. I took some pictures yesterday.
George Street Mall next to QVB.
All is well and good, but then you see a car, driving on this pedestrian paradise. Wherefore art thou, car? Then I realize, this is not my beautiful transit mall, it is a shared space-ish thing.
Does everyone know that? Is the white line just a temporary accommodation, or long-lasting feature. (In fact the white tape seems to be failing already.
Car vs. Stroller. I did not stage this. Apparently Sergei Eisenstein was here.
The car was paused for the unattended stroller. (the parents are just out of shot, and their pre-school child retrieved the stroller shortly after the photo). It turns out, there is one remaining driveway on this block associated with the Hilton Hotel, who for some reason was allowed to keep this exit. There is also a driveway on the next block too for Westfield.
Car exiting Hilton onto 'pedestrianized' George Street.
I am sure the planners did the best they could, but I really hope there is a longer term solution here than allowing cars access to these buildings off of this street.
And clearly everyone recognizes there is a problem, as a worker has been posted at all the cross streets. Still the number of both "accidental" and "intentional" acts of car driver on crowd violence in the past year is enough that this is likely to remain an issue without more concrete solutions.
Traffic cones and high-viz vests will keep us safe.