Trial of more outdoor dining for Darby Street

Public comment is being sought from today on expanding outdoor dining along Darby Street, but it will cut some car parks.

A six-month trial will start in September seeing the footpath widened between Sanctum and Goldbergs restaurants by installing a removable platform over seven existing car spaces.

To address the loss of the parking spaces, City of Newcastle said they will be converting sixteen existing all-day parking areas behind Newcastle Art Gallery into free, two-hour parking spaces during the trial. A convenient drop-off /pick-up zone near the shops and eateries will also form part of the trial.

There’ll be new street seating, paving, lighting and public art at the Darby Headphones Courtyard, vibrant murals will also be installed on the walls and footpaths, celebrating local and upcoming artists in collaboration with local art festivals. A new pedestrian crossing leading to the courtyard will improve accessibility and safety.

Newcastle Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said safety improvements and beautification of the popular eat-street would bring a range of benefits to the community.

“Our local hospitality industry was hit hard during COVID-19. Investment in our local centres helps restore confidence, create local jobs and boost our twilight and after dark economy, which employed 12,000 Novocastrian and created $1.4 billion per year in economic activity prior to COVID,” Councillor Clausen said.

There’s also going to be a trial of 30km/hr speed limit on Darby Street as well as additional safety infrastructure.

“Walkable and cycle-friendly local centres are critical to making great places. Trialling of traffic calming infrastructure will make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists, and help create an environment where dining spaces for local cafes and restaurants can be extended,” said Declan Clausen.

The trial has been made possible with funding from the City of Newcastle Urban Centres Revitalisation Program and a $500,000 grant from the NSW Government through the Streets as Shared Spaces program.