Mithra Cox, The Greens Mayoral candidate has released a photo essay of children walking in dangerous situations because the council has not invested in the pedestrian infrastructure to keep them safe. Most of these kids are just walking to their local school.
“Every day in Wollongong, kids are risking their lives just walking to school,” said Mithra Cox, Greens Mayoral Candidate for Wollongong.
“This issue has really struck a chord with parents across Wollongong, who have sent me photos of their daily walks in an attempt to illustrate how scary this daily experience is,” Ms Cox said.
“We are a car dependent city. Our streets have not been designed for people to walk.
“Most cities have twice as many kilometres of footpaths as roads; Wollongong has less than half.
“We need to design our streets by looking at the pedestrian flow, not just the traffic flow.
“Wollongong Council currently has a Draft Pedestrian Plan on exhibition, which acknowledges that more than 80% of trips in Wollongong are made by car - compared with about 50% in other OECD countries. [source: idea.org]
“Children in our city are at danger walking to school. Many streets have no footpaths, even in flat suburbs in close vicinity to a public school. Many roads near schools have no place to safely cross the road to get to school.
“And Council doesn't have a plan to fix it. The Draft Pedestrian Plan states that "it is unlikely to be feasible to deliver paths across the complete walking catchments of every school in the LGA in the short or even medium term timeframe". We need to do better than this.
“It is well documented that walking 10,000 steps a day greatly reduces health conditions such as heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol - lifestyle diseases that are leading causes of death and ill health, and which are on the rise in our society. For most people, just walking to school or the shops each day can achieve this level of physical activity.
“If we are serious about the health of our residents, the safety of our children, and cutting our greenhouse gas pollution, we had a duty to provide basic pedestrian infrastructure.
“If you don’t have the stress of walking your kids to school each day in an unsafe environment, it can be hard to understand why it’s a problem not having footpaths,” Ms Cox said.