Blue Mountains City Council is spending a record $1,870,495 on footpaths across the city in the budget for this financial year - 2021/2022. In the previous year - 2020/2021, council spent $1,070,000.
Mayor Mark Greenhill said investing nearly $2m in footpaths in this financial year demonstrated a commitment to improving pedestrian infrastructure.
"We have heard loud and clear that people want to be able to walk more easily in our towns and villages. I want this year's record level of investment to continue in the next three-year delivery plan and beyond."
If re-elected, he plans to ask council to continue the investment of at least $2m per year and establish an ongoing footpath and shared cycleway program.
Ward 2 Labor Cr Romola Hollywood said all councillors are aware that improving pedestrian access is a priority for the community.
"In this term, new footpaths have been built in different parts of the Mountains and more footpaths and shared cycleways are on their way in the next six months.
"But it is essential this is not just a one-off increase in investment in footpaths. We need an ongoing funded program for footpaths for now and into the future."
At the end of 2019, Cr Hollywood successfully brought forward a notice of motion calling on council to 'significantly increase the funding for the implementation of the Pedestrian Access and Mobility Plan [PAMP] in the next four-year delivery plan'.
"And while this next delivery plan has been delayed until the start of the new council term, it's great to see already, we have achieved record levels of investment in footpaths and shared cycleways in this financial year. If re-elected, I want this level of investment in footpaths and cycleways to continue.
The councillor said more could also be done to "work with our community on ways to improve the walkability on the verges".
"We could look at removing obstacles on verges at certain pinch points and creating gravel paths.
"Many residents have also told me they also want to see reduced speed zones in residential areas. Our council doesn't control speed zones, but we can continue to advocate for lower speed zones on roads shared by pedestrians and drivers, and where the topography and environmental factors may prevent footpaths from being built."