Long wished-for plans for a pedestrian/bike path connecting Katoomba and Leura might be a step closer, thanks to Badgerys Creek airport.
As part of the airport proposal, the Greater Sydney Commission has developed a number of plans to encourage growth around Badgerys Creek.
This includes the West District Plan, which combines eight councils, including Blue Mountains. Under the plan, Katoomba has been elevated to the status of a “strategic district centre”, making it eligible for special funding.
Cr Kerry Brown said the funding included “100 per cent active transport funding of up to two kilometres of footpath and five kilometres for cycleway”.
She is hoping the funding might finally give some respite to residents of Railway Parade, Leura, who have long sought a footpath along their street.
The road which connects Leura Mall to the industrial area of Katoomba is very narrow with no footpath, forcing pedestrians on to the road.
Local Michael MacLaurin, who has battled council for 27 years to get the road improved, said he believed a cycleway would be “used quite a lot”, particularly as the gradient is much gentler than the nearest alternative, Megalong Street.
Cr Brown, who successfully moved a motion at last month’s council meeting to investigate funding opportunities, said the rail corridor from the top of Katoomba Street to the top of Leura Mall offered “a potential active transport link with the easiest grade and most spectacular views”.
The plan is supported by both the Katoomba Chamber of Commerce and Community and the Leura Village Association.
Mark Jarvis, president of the Katoomba chamber, said: “It will be a real asset for the lifestyle and tourism of both towns. It’s about slowing down and enjoying the beauty of the Mountains.”
And Piercarlo Cuneo from the LVA said: “Most people will easily manage the distance and gentle gradient and there are terrific views. Residents and visitors would happily use the corridor on bicycle or by foot, leaving the car at home.
“It will bring the two towns closer in many ways.”