Wilmot and Central streets, which connect Pitt and George streets opposite the Event Cinemas in the city centre, will also receive new energy efficient LED lighting, high-quality paving and bright new signs.
The street upgrades are the latest projects in the City’s laneway revitalisation program, which has already seen the redevelopment of nearby Albion Place, as well as Ash Street and Angel Place near Martin Place.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the upgrades were part of the City’s ongoing commitment to liven up the city centre.
“Wilmot and Central streets have been important pedestrian thoroughfares for more than a century – but their current design doesn’t reflect this, with poor lighting and narrow footpaths that force people to walk on the roadway,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Given their prime location in Sydney’s entertainment precinct, we want to reclaim them as safer and more relaxing spaces for pedestrians, with potential for alfresco dining, live music and colourful public artworks.
“Our plans also support the upcoming George Street transformation by creating a pedestrian-friendly network of streets and laneways where residents, workers and visitors can slow down and enjoy the city.”
Wilmot Street is home to lively Korean businesses, backpacker accommodation and the heritage-listed former Sydney Water building. Central Street features night-time entertainment venues, including the Metro Theatre and the MTV Lair, as well as grocery stores and restaurants.
The City’s plans also include raising the road surface level on both streets to be flush with the footpath, and permanently closing Wilmot Street to cars at the George Street end, with the rest of the street becoming a two-way shared zone.
Access to existing loading docks and car parking in both streets will be maintained.
The plans have been endorsed by Council following extensive community consultation earlier this year, when more than 3,000 letters were sent to local residents. City staff also held numerous one-on-one meetings with nearby businesses and property owners.
The City’s laneway revitalisation program, which launched in 2009, features nine streets in the city centre. Ash Street, Angel Place and Albion Place were completed between 2010 and 2012, while Bulletin Place, Lees Court, York Lane and Hosking Place are all currently in various stages of design development.
The City will call for construction tenders for the Wilmot and Central streets upgrades later this year, with work set to begin in early 2014.