Sydneysiders and visitors are being urged to plan ahead of time to ensure they see every sparkle, shimmer and shine of this year’s Vivid Sydney, the largest festival of its kind in the world.
Sydney’s CBD will be transformed into a spectacular display of light, music and ideas when lights go on tomorrow (Friday 22 May 2015). The 18-night festival will run every night between 6pm and midnight until Monday 8 June 2015.
Central Metropolitan Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Mick Fuller, was joined by Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events, Stuart Ayres, and Destination NSW CEO, Sandra Chipchase, at First Fleet Park to launch Operation Amberdale today (Thursday 21 May 2015).
Operation Amberdale is a high-visibility policing strategy which will see additional officers patrolling from Circular Quay to Walsh Bay and other festival areas, including Martin Place, Darling Harbour, Pyrmont, Central Park, Chatswood and the University of Sydney, to ensure the safety of the community on each night of the event.
General Duties officers from Local Area Commands throughout the Central Metropolitan Region will be assisted by specialist officers from the Police Transport Command, Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, Mounted Unit, Public Order and Riot Squad and Marine Area Command.
In addition to minimising traffic disruptions and pedestrian congestion, officers will be targeting criminal and anti-social behaviour, boating safety, and protecting property and installations from damage or defacement.
Minister Ayres said with 1.43 million people attending last year’s event visitors should plan their trip in advance and be aware of changes to traffic and public transport.
“Vivid Sydney is bigger than ever in 2015, with a huge and exciting program encompassing lights, music and ideas, as well as two brand new precincts at Central Park and Chatswood,” Mr Ayres said.
“I’d encourage all attendees to plan their trip beforehand using the Vivid Sydney website and app, use public transport, avoid peak periods if possible and to always follows police instructions.”
“This will ensure you get the best possible Vivid Sydney experience,” Mr Ayres said.
Assistant Commissioner Fuller said with large crowds expected to visit Sydney CBD throughout Vivid Sydney 2015, public safety is the top priority.
“Police are working with Destination NSW, which owns and manages Vivid Sydney, and other government agencies to make sure all visitors can see all the festival has to offer and Operation Amberdale is in place for everyone to do it safely,” Assistant Commissioner Fuller said.
“This has become one of the city’s most popular events and with large crowds expected on weekends, we are encouraging families to consider visiting on weeknights.”
“It is easier and safer for young families to navigate between displays with strollers when it is less crowded.”
“On busier weekend nights, crowd barriers will be in place to provide safe viewing areas and police and event marshals will provide directions to allow for pedestrian movement.”
“There will be many visual distractions, so it is important for pedestrians and motorists to travel with care. When on the roadway, the most important lights to see are traffic lights.”
Pedestrians and drivers need to share the roadways and ensure they are aware of their responsibilities.
“We are urging pedestrians not to just follow the crowd. Remember the basics: STOP, LOOK and LISTEN before crossing,” Assistant Commissioner Fuller said.
“At the same time, motorists are urged to slow down and watch out in heavy pedestrian areas, particularly where there are displays.”
Road closures and special event clearways will in place to safely facilitate crowd flow and, like any major event in Sydney, police are urging everyone to leave their car at home and catch public transport.
“With more than 3500 extra trains and buses running throughout Vivid Sydney, public transport is the best option for travel to and from Sydney CBD and Chatswood,” Assistant Commissioner Fuller said.
“On some nights, road closures will impact normal bus routes and stops, so check transport information in advance.”
“Have a plan for your Vivid Sydney experience. Plan how you’re getting to the event, how you’re getting around and how you’re getting home.”
“Ferries have proven to be a popular way for people to get around and see the lights, especially on weekends, so allow additional travel time and consider having a back-up plan.”
With extra maritime traffic expected on Sydney Harbour, police and maritime authorities will be out in force to ensure operators of recreational and commercial vessels are compliant with maritime laws.
“Sydney Harbour is expected to be busy during Vivid Sydney, so skippers should be alert and aware of their surroundings at all times,” Assistant Commissioner Fuller said.
“Before heading out, check the vessel is in good working order, ensure all the required safety equipment is on board and check special event maritime information.”
Visit www.rms.nsw.gov.au and follow the links to Maritime for details on exclusion zones and movement restriction times.
Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer, Sandra Chipchase said that this year’s festival is a must-see, and is set to attract visitors from all around the world.
“With a vast and innovative program, Vivid Sydney will transform the city into a colourful canvas of light, music and ideas. “I look forward to welcoming visitors from around Australia and the world to our harbour city, to experience everything the festival has to offer,” she said.
For all the latest Vivid Sydney information, including road closure information and public transport information to help plan your trip, visit: vividsydney.com
Media Release: NSW Police Force