Walkability Metrics

Decision Maker: Council

Decision status: Recommendations Determined


Moved by Councillor Thalis, seconded by the Chair (the Lord Mayor) -

It is resolved that:

(A)      Council note:

(i)         the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment's Design and Place State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPP) Review foreshadows a number of new initiatives and benchmarks for public space;

(ii)        key new metrics in the SEPP focus on walkability, which are determined by block size and street connectivity;

(iii)      the City’s Walking Strategy and Action Plan outlines how we encourage walking by improving footpaths, lighting, wayfinding, shade and seating, reducing pedestrian waiting times at crossings, creating lively interesting streets, improving ramps and footpaths, slowing down traffic;

(iv)      creating a safe, high-quality, connected and inviting walking environment is a key City priority and important to workers, visitors, residents and businesses as evidenced by our ongoing investment to pedestrian and active transport improvements;

(v)       many areas in the City of Sydney Local Government Area (LGA) perform particularly well on such metrics, such as established areas Surry Hills and Newtown as well as areas undergoing positive redevelopment including Pyrmont, Ashmore Precinct, Lachlan Precinct and Green Square that create new and connected street networks;

(vi)      a few areas in the Local Government Area do not perform as well, such as along the broad railway corridor that restricts movement between Surry Hills and Chippendale and between Alexandria/Waterloo and Newtown/Darlington. Similarly fenced enclaves like Moore Park Golf Course frustrate free pedestrian movement; and

(vii)     a particular area that is challenging for pedestrians in the Local Government Area is Elizabeth Bay, with its large block sizes and limited connections to Potts Point/Kings Cross/Darlinghurst/Woolloomooloo; and

(viii)    the Lord Mayor and Councillors have been contacted by parents requesting improvements to pedestrian accessibility to Plunkett Street Public School and the Juanita Nielson centre that runs after school care in Woolloomoolloo;

(B)      in order to assess and potentially improve the walkability and legibility of the network of public spaces, the Chief Executive Officer be requested to:

(i)         conduct a study in the form of a spatial audit of block sizes and intersection frequency in Elizabeth Bay and the limited connections to adjacent areas of Potts Point/Kings Cross/Darlinghurst; and

(ii)        draw on the study in future planning reviews to inform potential solutions to improve walkability and pedestrian connectivity in this area that could have applicability across the Local Government Area, such as:

(a)       new linkages that can be created through the redevelopment of key sites under current controls as well as potentially introducing development uplift, tied to future planning reviews; and

(b)       any new or expanded mechanisms for the creation of public space linkages.

Carried unanimously.


Report author: Erin Cashman

Publication date: 09/08/2021

Date of decision: 09/08/2021

Decided at meeting: 09/08/2021 - Council

Accompanying Documents: