Why is Lurline Street being upgraded?

    Lurline St links Katoomba Town Centre to Echo Point and the Three Sisters. As such it is the gateway to the Blue Mountains most famous attraction visited by around three million people a year. It is also an important local thoroughfare to shops, services, Katoomba Public School, St Canices Primary and Katoomba High School.  The street is not as steep as alternative routes such as Katoomba St, and is therefore the most popular route for walking and cycling.

    The project to restore Lurline Street as a tree-lined boulevard was community initiated and continues to be community-driven.   In 2009 following resident advocacy, a feasibility study by the Council for street planting in Lurline St recommended that power be undergrounded to facilitate large healthy trees and that a full upgrade of the street infrastructure be part of the works. These recommendations were supported by an independent study in 2015.  

    Will the streetscape improvements be undertaken along all of Lurline Street?

    The Treeline Lurline project extends 1.6 kilometres along Lurline Street from the junction with Waratah Street at the bottom of the Katoomba Town Centre where power is already underground to Forster Road on the approach to Echo Point where power  is also undergrounded.

    A Federal Government grant has funded the concept designs  for all seven blocks. Detailed design and construction of the first section  from Waratah to Merriwa Streets is also covered by this grant. Further funding will be sought to complete the other six blocks. 

    The top of Lurline St from Gang Gang to Waratah is not included in the concept designs because the steep topography of this block will require very different treatment. It would be a stand-alone project.

    What works have been undertaken to date?

    Numerous investigations have been undertaken over the last year including a site survey, detailed underground service investigations, site soil tests, traffic and pedestrian counts, mapping of Council’s stormwater system and geotechnical assessment.

    Preliminary designs for underground electrical cables to replace the overhead powerlines and for new lighting have been completed for the full seven blocks of the project with detailed designs for Block One from Waratah to Merriwa completed and are currently with Endeavour Energy for approval. 

    The designs for tree-planting, cycleway, footpath, new paving and street furniture are more than 50% complete with draft designs on public exhibition this month.

    What work will be undertaken to make the street safer?

    A new pedestrian crossing will be included on the street close to Merriwa Street. This will provide a safe and clear crossing, particularly for school children and their carers, walking to and from the public school and high school. The crossing will also provide traffic calming to the street and help to reduce traffic speeds. 

    Kerb alignments have been changed to narrow the intersections and overall road width and create room on each side for a dedicated cycleway next to the footpath. This narrower road combined with the trees set in the parking bays will help reduce traffic speeds for a safer road environment.

    The narrower road creates room for a cycleway next to the footpath on each side of the road as part of the design for the whole street. During the first stage of the works this will be constructed as a shared path that can be easily converted to a dedicated cycleway when there are enough street blocks to make it viable.  This separation of cyclists from cars and buses will improve safety.

    An additional pedestrian crossing has been proposed at Kurrawan Street, which is a high use area for Katoomba High School. This will be further investigated at a later date when funding becomes available for the rest of the works along the street.

    Will the bus stops on Lurline St be retained?

    The two existing bus stops between Waratah and Merriwa Street will be combined into one bus stop close to the RSL entrance in the middle of the block. Along the rest of Lurline Street, the bus stops will be retained. Some minor relocations may be proposed. This will be investigated when funding becomes available for the rest of the works along the street.

    Will my driveway be retained?

    Yes. All existing driveways will be retained in their current locations.

    Who is providing the funding for the work?

    The Treeline Lurline Project was initiated and developed by Katoomba Chamber of Commerce & Community and its Treeline Lurline Steering Committee of local residents, businesses and community groups. The project is consistent with Council's Draft Katoomba Masterplan.

    Stage One has been funded by the Australian Federal Government’s Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Program with a $4,004,275 grant to Katoomba Chamber of Commerce & Community (KCCC).

    Bendigo Community Bank Blue Mountains is a sponsor and community partner and The National Trust Blue Mountains Branch and Blue Mountains Tourism are community partners.

    Blue Mountains City Council is also providing in-kind contributions including survey, design and planning assistance.

    Who is managing the project?

    Blue Mountains City Council is the project manager. It has a joint Project Control Group with the Katoomba Chamber.

    The community Steering Committee convened by the Katoomba Chamber continues to advise and support the project and monitors progress for the grant reporting.

    Who will undertake maintenance of the street upgrades after they are completed?

    Council will continue to be responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the road and footpaths, street furniture, trees and garden beds.  Endeavour Energy will be responsible for ongoing maintenance of the underground electrical cables and the street lights.

    What tree species and planting will be used?

    The avenue of street trees will consist of mostly large deciduous trees to provide seasonal colour with winter sun and summer shade. Many in the community also have a strong interest in using local native species and therefore the street trees along Lurline Street will also include a number of native trees at key locations.

    The tree species will be selected based on:

    • Their ability to thrive in an urban environment as well as the cool climate of Katoomba.
    • Their ability to  make the most of the enhanced growing conditions provided by the project (see below).
    • The overall size and form of the tree to create a grand boulevard.
    • Seasonal colour.

    Will the trees affect the footpath and road pavement on Lurline St?

    New tree planting has been located in between formalised on-street parking bays. Underneath the parking bays a continuous soil trench will be provided to ensure sufficient soil volumes for good tree health. Investigations have already confirmed good soil depth above the bedrock. The parking bays will feature a porous surface to provide water for the trees and improve stormwater run-off. Honeycomb-like structural cells will be installed under the surface of the parking bays to prevent soil compaction around the roots. These measures will benefit tree growth and mitigate roots encroaching on paved surfaces.

    How will the trees get water?

    The parking bays will be paved with a special porous asphalt that allows rainwater to filter through into the soil.

    During the first few years, until they are established, the trees will also be irrigated using water carts if there is not sufficient rainfall during hot and dry conditions.

    Will there be a cycleway provided as part of the works?

    A new cycle path will be constructed along each side of Lurline Street. The cycle paths will be one way in each direction. Initially the cycle path will be constructed as a shared path. This is because the first stage of the upgrade only covers a few hundred meters of Lurline St, which is not long enough for a cycle path. The shared path will be converted into a full cycle lane in the future, once further funding is secured. The kerb re-alignment will already have established the capacity for this.

    The overall width of the shared path will increase from the approximate 3m width of the existing footpath to approximately 4m.  

    What pavement material will be used?

    The pavements will include porous asphalt for the parking bays, and a mixture of feature paving and asphalt for the shared path.

    Will the street lights be upgraded?

    Yes. New streetlights are proposed as part of the project and will be installed to meet the lighting standards for the street. This will result in an improvement in the lighting of Lurline Street.

    Will all the overhead poles and wires be removed on Lurline St?

    Preliminary electrical undergrounding designs for the entire seven blocks of the project were commissioned by the Katoomba Chamber and sponsored by Bendigo Community Bank Katoomba. Funding from the Chamber’s Federal Government Grant only covers undergrounding of the poles and wires along the first block of Lurline St (between Waratah St and Merriwa St). More funding will be sought to continue the work along the rest of Lurline St.

    Will accessibility along Lurline St be improved?

    The existing slope along the seven blocks of the project is a relatively easy grade.

    Accessibility will be improved by the new paved surfaces and the widened space available for pedestrians and cyclists. It will also be improved by removing obstacles from the street such as power poles and unnecessary street poles. 

    Where possible, suitable crossfalls (the slope) from the property to the kerb will be improved. 

    Seating and other street furniture along the street will facilitate people of all ages and abilities resting along the way.

    Will there be any heritage interpretation or art and sculpture along the street?

    Yes. Council is currently working with the Treeline Lurline Steering Committee and Arts and Heritage working group to develop a heritage art walk along the street. Once the key elements of this have been identified, Expressions of Interest will be held for artists to submit ideas for the proposed elements. Community consultation will continue as the ideas and designs progress.