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Transformation of Darby Street outdoor restaurants begins

Newcastle’s famous ‘Eat Street’ area on Darby Street in Cooks Hill will come to life in a six-month trial with expanded outdoor dining facilities, community-focused events and improved pedestrian and cycling infrastructure as part of the Streets as Shared Spaces initiative.

The start of the transformation of Darby Street was officially launched today by Deputy Mayor of Newcastle, Declan Clausen.

The trial will calm traffic and bring diners to the streets as the extended trail restoration areas begin.

Newcastle ord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the Darby Street trial was part of the Streets as Shared Spaces initiative and aimed to test and build innovative ideas that bring people to public spaces, in a safer way .

“Novocastrians are changing the way they explore and connect. Residents are walking and cycling more, which means we need to focus more on providing safe, green, welcoming and accessible spaces,” said Cr Nelmes.

Deputy Mayor Declan Clausen said the temporary nature of the works allowed the City of Newcastle to test these pilot projects with support and feedback from the local community and businesses.

“By implementing this trial, we hope to gain valuable insights that will allow us to plan for long-term positive change as part of the city’s Local Centers Renewal Program, which provides attractive, vibrant and healthy open spaces. ”

A large 120m2 temporary catering platform, constructed from recycled materials, has been placed in several parking lots between the Sanctum and Goldbergs restaurants. The new catering platform allows businesses to more than double their outdoor dining space and frees up the sidewalk for pedestrians, giving local cafes and restaurants an immediate boost.

Further along Darby Street, a new pedestrian crossing safely leads visitors to the reactivated Courtyard of Darby Earphones. New street furniture, lighting, cladding and public art in the courtyard encourage people to visit, stay and connect.

A condition of the NSW government grant required the speed of Darby St to be reduced. Transport for NSW has approved a temporary speed reduction of 30km/h for around 400m of Darby St, between the Newcastle Art Gallery and 188 Darby St.

Co-owner of Three Monkeys cafe on Darby Street, Anthony Strachan said he hoped the trial would attract more people to the precinct and help showcase all that Darby Street has to offer.

“The past two years have been extremely difficult for all small businesses. We are already seeing people coming back to the city and we hope this trial will lead to more excitement and an improved Darby Street experience,” Mr Strachan said.

To help with the availability of short-term free parking in the area, temporary drop-off and pick-up areas will be set up near Council Street and parking spaces at the rear of Newcastle Library will be converted into free 2P spaces for the duration of the trial, compensating for the car parks impacted by the temporary catering platform.

The trial will celebrate Darby Street’s connection to culture, art, music and food through a series of events including temporary pavement murals and a pavement art competition by Chalk the Walk as part of the new annual festival and a day of free activities at Darby Street, Street Party on the corner of Council Street, Saturday 15th October 2022.

Further details of the Darby Street, Streets as Shared Spaces trial events can be found at whatson.newcastle.nsw.gov.au

The trial was made possible by a $500,000 grant from the NSW Government through the Streets as Shared Spaces (Round 2) scheme and funding from the City of Newcastle’s Urban Centers Revitalization Scheme.

John Smith

The author John Smith