By Myles Stedman
Kings Cross is again the centre of attention as the government trials the closure of Bayswater Road to private transport on Saturday nights.
The trial began last weekend and will continue on March 29 and April 5. Between the hours of 9pm on Saturday and 6am on Sunday, the busy thoroughfare will be restricted to buses, taxis and police, during what is traditionally peak hour in the Cross.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the strategy was the latest in a range of measures from the City of Sydney and New South Wales government to boost safety in King’s Cross.
“This trial has the potential to reduce taxi and public transport passenger waiting times, helping people get home quickly and safely,” she said.
“Sydney’s late-night precincts face a variety of complex challenges, and the City is committed to taking action wherever we can.”
But by implementing these trial road closures, Sydney’s late-night food precincts are facing a different variety of more complex challenges.
On the streets of Kings Cross on Saturday night, the owner of a local Mexican take-away store told City Hub the trial is “affecting business a lot”, and that the new lockout law has eliminated most of his business after 1.30am.
Further up the road, the owner of a Mediterranean food store agreed. “There is no late-night business,” he said, adding that there is “little point to staying open past three”.
“Perhaps the laws were being introduced to reduce the amount of people coming through Kings Cross,” he suggested.
Both business owners said the traditional rush between 3am and 5am, especially on Sunday morning, has been eliminated – and with it “the bulk of the money being brought in for the week”.