Parts of Bunda Street and Petrie Street will close this week until February as work gets underway on stage two of a project to transform the area into a shared zone for cars, pedestrians and cyclists.
Contractors will begin setting up at Bunda Street on Monday morning before a section of the road 30 metres north and 40 metres south of Petrie Street closes from 9:30am on Tuesday.
Petrie Street will also be closed between the pedestrian crossing and Bunda Street.
Both roads are expected to reopen at 5pm on Thursday February 12, in time for the National Multicultural Festival.
A section of Bunda Street, between Akuna Street and about 40 metres south of Akuna Street will also be closed, and should be reopened by February 20.
During this time, vehicular access will be via Allara Street.
The stage two upgrades will be identical to works completed on the Mort Street entrance and Scotts Crossing as part of stage one finished late last year in time for the street to be reopened for Christmas trading.
Work will include raised entry thresholds at each end of the street to signify a changed traffic zone, additional kerb ramps to improve accessibility for people in wheelchairs and raised road pavement to the current footpath level at intersections.
While Territory and Municipal Services minister Shane Rattenbury acknowledged the shared zone and 20km/h speed limit was "a new concept" for some Canberrans, he said he was confident people would embrace the new arrangements.
"In this space, motorists and cyclists must give way to pedestrians," he said.
"Ongoing education will be an important part of the project and when the street is completed the new design will help it become a more vibrant and active space in Canberra's city centre."
Mr Rattenbury said the work would also upgrade the quality of the pavement.
"Designs will be stamped into the roads to make it more obvious it's a shared zone and less like a regular street and more like a pedestrian-friendly area," he told the ABC.
With the 20km/h speed limit Mr Rattenbury said drivers should not treat the areas as a thoroughfare.
"People should go in there if they have business to do in Bunda Street so most of the parking spots will be retained," he said.
The government has discussed the changes with traders and it was clear retaining short-term parking and loading zones was important, Mr Rattenbury said.
Although pedestrians have right of way in the shared zone, he said everyone had to take responsibility.
"Pedestrians shouldn't just walk across the road texting," he said.
The Bunda Street shareway forms part of the Civic Cycle Loop project - a 3.2 kilometre path that loops around Rudd Street, Marcus Clarke Street, Bunda Street and Allara Street, and connects with existing paths that lead into the city.