There will be road "wombats" galore in a new school safety funding bonanza.
Council will deliver safety improvements to pedestrian facilities around a number of Mountains schools, after securing $1.5 million funding from Transport for NSW's Road Safety Program.
The improvements will see new infrastructure installed, as well as upgrades to the existing road network, such as raised pedestrian crossings, pedestrian refuges and new signage.
"Pedestrian safety around schools is a huge priority for this council," the mayor, Mark Greenhill said. "And we have sought funding for some time on many of these projects around the Blue Mountains".
The funding would be spent on "much-needed upgrades to ensure that our schoolchildren, and their parents and carers, remain safe when they travel to school each day [and] ...support jobs and stimulate our local economy," he said.
Transport for NSW announced the funding under Round 2 of the School Zone Infrastructure SubProgram after council applied for funding for the various projects throughout the Blue Mountains.
The successful projects are:
- $110,000 to Blackheath Public School to design and construct accessible parking space for the school on Leichhardt St.
- $154,000 to Katoomba High to install a raised "wombat" full-time pedestrian crossing at the high school on Martin St.
- $91,000 to Ellison Road Public School to fix an existing non-compliant pedestrian refuge and install pedestrian fencing on Hawkesbury Rd, Springwood.
- $154,000 to Blaxland East Public for the upgrade of an existing pedestrian crossing to a raised "wombat" crossing on Old Bathurst Rd and a further $70,000 to upgrade another refuge on 9 Rusden Rd, Blaxland on a walking route to the school
- $170,800 to upgrade an existing pedestrian crossing to a raised "wombat" crossing and renewal of adjacent road surface and drainage associated with the crossing on a walking route to Blaxland High School.
- $154,000 for an upgrade of Lapstone Public School's existing pedestrian crossing to a raised "wombat" crossing on Explorers Rd, Lapstone.
- $154,000 to also upgrade an existing pedestrian crossing to a raised "wombat" crossing on Mount Hay Rd at Leura Public School.
- $154,000 to renew an existing raised pedestrian crossing at Springwood Public School on Burns Rd, Springwood.
- $70,000 to install a new pedestrian refuge on Hawkesbury Rd near Winmalee High School and
- $271,250 for a new footpath to connect to existing footpath near Glenbrook Pre-School, and 8 new kerb ramps as well as the construction of a new pick up and drop off zone on Peel St, and associated kerb and guttering and signage at Glenbrook Public School.
Katoomba P and C president Catriona Paterson called the funding for school traffic improvements "a great outcome".
Last year the Gazette reported that the Local Traffic Committee - which includes council and RMS representatives - recommended a pedestrian island refuge be installed near the school on Martin Street, at the intersection with Kurrawan Rd.
But the P&C told the council meeting with school enrolments swelling to 900, the refuge was inadequate and dangerous, and a pedestrian crossing would be safer.
A Roads spokesperson at the time said the minimum number of pedestrians crossing a road to warrant a zebra (painted) pedestrian crossing is 50 per hour and 300 vehicles per hour each morning and afternoon.
Ms Paterson said the Katoomba High School P&C was "very relieved that our students are finally going to be provided with a permanent pedestrian crossing on Martin Street".
"The road is very, very busy in the afternoon and currently there is no safe way for the 900 odd students to cross. We appreciate the efforts that the council staff have made to navigate the very slow and cumbersome process necessary to improve safety for our young people on the roads."