BY LEXY AKILLAS
CBD businesses fear that the state government has not put enough planning into alleviating anticipated pressures and congestion of the light rail construction.
City of Sydney Councillor and owner of VIVO Café Angela Vithoulkas said she was concerned about the level of disruption that would impact both on locals and community, and the effect that it would have on businesses.
“My main concern, and the concerns I have heard from those who are on the ground, living and working in the city, are how disruptive the construction will be for getting into and around Sydney,” she said.
Speaking to City Hub, Clr Vithoulkas said that she was disappointed that the government had not considered the Christmas shopping period.
“Businesses would have preferred construction to have started in February as to avoid work during Christmas, however this is not how it has turned out,” she said.
As of October 4, a new bus timetable for commuters will be implemented to ensure that commuters are still able to move throughout the CBD.
Clr Vithoulkas said that the bus changes would ultimately mean difficulties for workers.
“People are going to need to allow more time to get to work as the new bus stops are not where everyone is used to,” Clr Vithoulkas said.
“It is not unusual to hear ‘I missed the bus’, but now employers will also be hearing ‘I didn’t realise how far the walk was,’” she said.
“Only time will tell if they’ve got it right and whether or not it is working for the people.”
Construction begins in early October, but the first pedestrian zone on George Street will not be open until September 2016, meaning that construction will be taking place over this upcoming Christmas.
A spokesperson for Transport for NSW said that construction was staggered to minimize impact on business
“Work is being staged over 31 zones to minimise the disruption to any one area. Construction, particularly in the lead up to Christmas, will be staged allowing for more pedestrian space in George Street,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson has also assured that Transport for NSW will continue to engage with impacted businesses of all sizes to assist them with programs and initiatives that will encourage people to shop in the CBD, particularly as the peak Christmas shopping period draws closer.