Ward One councillors Kerry Brown and Kevin Schreiber have gone into bat again for the residents of Leura’s Railway Parade.
The residents urgently want a 40kmh zone on Railway Parade west of Leura Mall to Govett Street speedbumps and walkable verges. But a footpath is their ultimate goal.
The road is regularly used as a rat-run to the Katoomba industrial estate, and with the impending opening of Bunnings hardware store, residents don’t feel safe walking along it. The residents have clocked about 700 vehicles on the road daily.
Cr Brown has appealed for a council report for short-term safety measures to be made a priority before the June 2018 Leura Local Area Management Plan. She would also like more efforts made to pursue State Government tourism funding for a footpath/cycleway along Railway Parade and the rail corridor between Leura and Katoomba.
“Railway Parade is a goat-track along the mountainside that is being used as a regional link road between Katoomba and Leura by taxis, tradies, tourists and locals. This has been exacerbated by the recent upgrade of the entrance to Railway Parade from Leura Mall; planning decisions for new residential development, the industrial estate at the end of the road where Bunnings will soon open; and the 50 per cent increase in tourism over the last five years that has greatly increased traffic in the area,” she said.
Resident Michael MacLaurin has been agitating for decades on the subject. He often wears an orange safety vest along the road and recently marched with the councillors and a group of other concerned residents to again highlight the road’s dangers. Last year a pedestrian was hospitalised after being hit on the road, he said.
“Many of the pedestrians are in their older years … and it is apparent that some tourism organisations are sending people along the roadway to observe views at Murray Street,” he said.
“Eventually this will end up with the coroner,” he added.
In 2010, council endorsed a report on Railway Parade safety that gave ‘high priority’ to constructing a footpath from the mall to Murray Street at an estimated cost of $100,000.
“At some stage it was taken off the Pedestrian Access and Mobility Plan … and then following a resident’s submision, it was put back on the PAMP in 2016 as a medium priority,” Cr Brown said.
“My council motion is groundhog day for the locals.”
Cr Kevin Schreiber said there had been many near misses along the hazardous road and he is also concerned “someone will die”.
At the February council meeting Cr Schrieber suggested the current three tonne limit be reduced to two tonnes.
Council staff had done a preliminary assessment of short term measures, including slashing of the road verges and overhanging branches, relocating signs blocking the narrow verges and 'resident access only' signage. A report will come back to council.
Councillors have also agreed that the Leura local area management plan will be undertaken in consultation with residents, businesses and include council’s online “Have your Say’ form and a public meeting.