BMCSF Raises concerns that Leonay route is the missing link in Penrith Council's Green Grid Strategy
Media Release 22 July 2021 The Blue Mountains Cycling Safety Forum (BMCSF) is concerned that Penrith City Council’s Green Grid Strategy does not include a shared walking and cycling connection between the River Walk and Glenbrook via Leonay Oval. The exclusion misses the opportunity to link Penrith Council’s shared path from the Yandhai bridge river crossing to the Knapsack Viaduct via Emu Plains. In March this year, the BMCSF published a lower mountains cycle network plan (“the Plan”). The Plan proposes a 14km network of shared cycling/ walking paths (all on public land) linking the popular Nepean River Walk to the Glenbrook town centre via Leonay and to Knapsack Reserve and Chalmers lookout trail. The NSW Government and Blue Mountains City Council Mayor have supported the Plan which gives the context/ destination to the remediation and opening of the 1892 disused Glenbrook Rail Tunnel and also to connecting Leonay and the lower Blue Mountains. This led to an additional $2.5M of funding from the NSW Government June on top of $1.5M of stimulus funding provided in March to remediate the tunnel and develop the cycling/walking network. BMCSF President, David Tritton said: “I believe a sealed 3 metre wide shared path green space route from the southern end of the River Walk to Leonay and the Glenbrook Tunnel and Glenbrook cafes would be enormously popular with walkers and riders seeking the amenity of traffic free open space in bushland and a heritage experience”. Penrith Council’s Green Grid strategy (down load from here) says it “creates opportunities for a walkable city connecting Penrith’s town centre and neighbourhoods, the Nepean foreshore, waterways, recreational and open space networks through the provision of green infrastructure that will contribute to city cooling, liveability and ecology. The grid reinforces the network of pathways, cycleways and connects neighbourhoods to open space linkages at the local level”. Penrith Council is currently exhibiting its Green Grid strategy and calling for contributions from the community on its “have your say” website. Submissions close 3 August 2021. Mr Tritton said “the proposed sealed route is consistent with Council’s Green Grid Strategy because the route: ● utilises existing open green space corridors with tree shade cover on public land, including Crown land and land vested in NSW Government agencies; ● is shorter (being 5km), and has only one road crossing at Leonay Parade, compared with the route from Yandhai River via Emu Plains which is longer (approximately 8km) and has around 15 road crossings, including two traffic light controlled crossings and also requires cyclists to share a service road with residential local traffic at Imperial Avenue;
● supports equity for the local community because it provides a safe active transport route for the residents of Leonay on the south end of the River Walk and bookends the shared path through Emu Plains on north end of River Walk;
● makes use of the character of the bushland through Leonay and Knapsack areas and highlights a genuine sense of place;
● formalises and extends one part of an existing informal network of popular bush walking / off road mountain biking trails and retains the many informal off shoot trails for bush walking and mountain biking;
● it adjoins the Emu Plains shared path route at the northern end of the River Walk which maximises flexibility for users and offers a return loop option for users wanting to visit the Viaduct;
● it provides access opportunities for volunteer land care bush regeneration and beautifying neglected waterways; and
● it will not involve changes to land zoning and does not impact private land.”
Mr Tritton said “this is a great opportunity for further collaboration between the councils of Penrith, the Blue Mountains, the NSW Government and the local community to increase liveability for the local community and help build resilience in local economies by providing a much needed alternative form of connectivity between the two local government areas”.
A map of the proposed Leonay route linking the M4 pedestrian off ramp with the Viaduct intersection with the Great Western Highway shared path (south of the Zig Zag trail) is below. The Attachment sets out further detail of the proposed route.
The River to Mountains Network plan can be downloaded from here.