Mike Stevens | May 7, 2010

THE SYDNEY CBD could become a haven for pedestrians and cyclists in the future, according to a draft 'memorandum of understanding' between Lord Mayor Clover Moore and NSW Premier Kristina Keneally, obtained by the ABC.

Reviving Ms Moore's long-held goal of making Sydney more pedestrian-friendly, the plan calls for cars to be blocked from stretches of George Street, although buses and taxis would be allowed access. Traffic at Liverpool and King Streets would be redirected to Kent and Castlereagh Streets.

New 40km/h speed zones would be established across the CBD, with special 10km/h areas to be shared by pedestrians and cars and giving pedestrians right-of-way.

Ms Keneally pointed to World You Day in 2008, with many roads in the CBD were closed to traffic, as an example of what could be achieved on a more permanent basis.

The plans, drawn up with the help of Danish urban designer Professor Jan Gehl (instrumental in pedestrian-friendly changes to Melbourne's CBD), have drawn the ire of NRMA President Wendy Machin.

"This ad hoc approach to planning in the CBD is what has led to many of its current congestion problems," Ms Machin said in a statement.

"We should be dealing with these problems and looking for sensible solutions, including better public transport services before we consider closing a major street in the city centre."

Ms Machin said that redirecting traffic would only serve to redistribute congestion rather than reduce it.

"King and Liverpool Streets will almost certainly become more crowded as motorists try to turn off George Street," she said.

Speaking with the ABC, transport expert Dr Michelle Zeibots at the University of Technology Sydney, said that traffic will eventually settle as motorists respond to the changes by choosing not to drive.


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