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Advertising street furniture in Sydney moved in favour of pedestrians

Advertising street furniture in Sydney moved in favour of pedestrians

QMS City of Sydney – Little Creatures campaign

The City of Sydney has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars ripping out street furniture which had restricted pedestrian access. 

Costs ran to $325,000 plus GST for an external review, removal and relocation.

A council spokesperson confirmed to AdNews that 30 items have been identified for removal or relocation to improve pedestrian movement and sight lines.

“The majority of street furniture locations were pre-existing, and all items (excluding seats and bins) were subject to a development application process, including public notification and consultation, before they were approved and installed,” said the spokesperson.

Executive general manager of outdoor media group QMS, Mark Fairhurst, said community feedback is an essential part of ensuring the ongoing usability of public amenities.

“Together with the City of Sydney, we have agreed to remove and relocate 21 existing locations, relocate six approved new assets and remove three existing assets as we continue to be responsive to community safety and pedestrian amenity and the City of Sydney’s public works program,” he told AdNews.

“It is anticipated these works will take place in H1 2024.”

QMS was appointed in June 2020 to an exclusive 10-year agreement, plus a further five-year option, to create a premium, reimagined network of street furniture for the City of Sydney, after a 20-year contract with JCDecaux expired.

The agreement included a newly designed suite of bus shelters, kiosks, public toilets, seats and bins that replace the current furniture, most of which had been in place since 1997.

The council’s Design Advisory Panel spent months working with QMS on the new designs to ensure they complied with standards and accessibility requirements.

However, the City of Sydney spokesperson said it became clear that some street furniture had “undue impact” on pedestrian access, particularly the placement of some of the freestanding advertising screens.

“Council resolved for the CEO to work with QMS to review the placement of the screens and reconsider the location of those that have a significant negative impact on pedestrian movement,” the spokesperson said.

“The QMS contract provides significant value to the City of Sydney – both in terms of attractive, well-maintained street furniture and income.”

Although commercial details weren’t disclosed at the time of QMS’ appointment, the deal was “rumoured to be worth up to $200 million”.

The network now spans more than 700 panels across a suite of assets including bus shelters, communication pylons, ad bollards and kiosks, covering 33 suburbs and 26 square kilometres and reaching 2.6 million people a week.

QMS’ Fairhurst told AdNews that the reach, impact, scale and integrity of the advertising network offered to advertisers would not be affected by these changes.

“The City of Sydney street furniture network continues to be the preeminent out of home advertising solution in Australia, and sits at the beating heart of our city that continues to be the only true way to reach the most influential audiences at scale,” he said.

“Sydney is a thriving, global city and together with the City of Sydney, we remain committed to delivering a world-class public infrastructure that reflects its evolving landscape.

“Our partnership with the City of Sydney is for the long term and naturally, we anticipated to see our digital street furniture network evolve together with the city. With the network consisting of over 700 street furniture assets, changes to the network like this are to be expected from time to time, but we are well placed to ensure that the City, its residents and visitors, as well as our clients are all considered.”

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