By Andrew Starke
Trial programs conducted by the City of Sydney to improve safety and pedestrian movement, while reducing anti-social behaviour after dark, have been hailed as a success by council.
Two initiatives have been tested in Sydney’s entertainment precincts at night over the past few weeks: the provision of ‘Precinct Ambassadors’ and portable outdoor urinals.
The ambassadors – effectively unsolicited concierges for visitors to George Street between 8pm and 3:30am on Friday and Saturday nights – directly assisted 2,318 people over a 12 week period.
According to council figures, these Precinct Ambassadors had a direct role in:
- Preventing 68 incidents from escalating by reporting them back to the City's security control room;
- Calling ambulances for 12 people, who were subsequently hospitalised due to intoxication; Giving first aid or assistance to 32 people in distress;
- Helping more than 1,000 people who asked for public transport information; and
- Providing directional advice to 412 people on how to get to other parts of the city,to toilets or home at the end of the night.
Separately, about 5,500 people used the outdoor urinals during a four week trial period in various locations across the city.
"This was the first time any city in this country has trialled activities like this. The usage indicates that if you provide more facilities and services late at night, people will use them," the City's Late Night Economy Manager, Suzie Matthews said.
Both initiatives were part of a series of measures to make entertainment precincts function better late at night.
"This is a valuable insight into how we can continue our work to introduce programs to better manage the city after dark," Matthews said.
"Springfield Mall in Kings Cross was the most popular location for the outdoor urinals, with an estimated 1,633 individual users across the trial period.
"We've made real inroads into making the city function better at night, and such initiatives could become regular programs depending on public feedback and a full evaluation of the trials.
"It looks very likely that, based on preliminary feedback, we will redeploy the precinct ambassadors during the summer."
New late night signage directing people to transport options will also be rolled out in entertainment precincts.
The new directional signage is to help people find transport and public toilets more easily.
More than 90 new signs directing people to trains and taxi ranks will be installed in areas with high pedestrian volumes late at night in Kings Cross, Oxford Street and George Street South.
The City worked with NSW Police, local liquor accords and licensees in identifying appropriate locations for the signage to be installed.
Provide feedback on the outdoor urinal trial by clicking here.
For more information or to contribute thoughts and ideas towards the vision for Sydney's future nightlife, click here.