After a successful trial run, North Sydney council will be permanently turning a road into a public plaza in Neutral Bay that creates open public space and provides a shady social area for all residents.
The next stage for the Plaza on Young Street, Neutral Bay, is working through a new permanent design for the plaza that uses feedback from community submissions from the 3-month trial period.
North Sydney Mayor Jilly Gibson, describes the project as one of her favourites.
“It’s actually creating brand new extra open space in the North Sydney municipality, and that’s very hard to do in a densely populated area like this,” she says.
“We have less open space per person than any of our neighbouring councils, or than in any councils in the North Sydney region. We also have less than the City of Sydney, so every square metre of public open space is highly valued and very important to our residents.”
The plaza will cover around 700 square metres of landscaped space. According to the brief, it is intended to provide a recreation and entertainment space for residents and visitors day and night that that is contemporary and creative.
Plans show pergolas with planting, water features and sculptures, in-ground lighting, deciduous trees and archways are all part of the space.
“We’re a council that’s very focused on sustainability. In this trial we used furniture and materials that were left over from other projects, which demonstrates our commitment to sustainability,” says Gibson.
A large part of its appeal is a safe place to play and sit for young families, who are numerous in Neutral Bay. There’s also the hope that it will bring added foot traffic for local businesses.
The plaza will be fully funded by Transport for NSW as part of funding for streetscape upgrade works that complement the Northern Beaches B-Line Bus Service.
The project has already proven to be a hit with locals. During the trial period the average dwell time for visitors to Young Street increased by 56 percent.
But, while people were keen to sit down and have a coffee, and they gave positive feedback about the decorative lighting, there was still some negative feedback.
“Some of the negative feedback we had during the trial was people loved the concepts but they didn’t like the planting and the colour schemes. People didn’t like the really strident yellows and greens, so we’re going with a completely different colour palette,” explains Gibson.
North Sydney Council is also in the process of opening a very similar plaza in Kirribilli. Work starts on the trial set-up in late July, closing a section of roadway.
“The local residents are really excited about it and they’re asking me what’s happening every time I walk through Kirribilli,” Gibson enthuses.