Wollongong councillor wants to reduce speed limit to 30km/h around schools - Illawarra Greens

Wollongong councillor wants to reduce speed limit to 30km/h around schools

The Ward 1 councillor is calling on the Council to develop a pilot project to improve safety around schools.

"My preference is for it to start around schools but I think ideally we would have a pedestrian friendly city all over the city," Cr Cox said. "But so many parents tell me that it is scary walking their kids to school, that it doesn't feel safe. A lot of schools and parents have contacted me at the council, asking for lowering of speed limits and pedestrian crossings. So far those requests have been knocked back.  I really want to change that approach from council and say yes, pedestrian safety is a priority for us and.......we are going to be proactive and we are going to start doing this."

 

Read the article by Agron Latifi in The Illawarra Mercury, 25 August 2020

Wollongong councillor wants to reduce speed limit to 30km/h around schools

NOTICE OF MOTION: Wollongong councillor Mithra Cox wants the council to develop a pilot project to improve pedestrian safety around schools. Picture: Adam McLean.
 NOTICE OF MOTION: Wollongong councillor Mithra Cox wants the council to develop a pilot project to improve pedestrian safety around schools. Picture: Adam McLean.

The Greens councillor also wants to see more zebra crossings added around Wollongong schools.

These are just some suggestions Cr Cox included in her notice of motion to Wollongong City Council.

The Ward 1 councillor is calling on the Council to develop a pilot project to improve safety around schools.

"My preference is for it to start around schools but I think ideally we would have a pedestrian friendly city all over the city," Cr Cox said.

"But, so many parents tell me that it is scary walking their kids to school, that it doesn't feel safe.

"There have been a lot of schools and parents who have contacted me at the council, asking for lowering of speed limits and pedestrian crossings. So far those requests have been knocked back.

"That's the reason I'm putting it as motion because I really want to change that approach from council and say yes, pedestrian safety is a priority for us and.......we are going to be proactive and we are going to start doing this."

It is a speed when you are driving, you are expecting that you are sharing that space with people, you are expecting to see a bike, a kid, a ball bounce out in front of you and you can easily stop.

Wollongong councillor Mithra Cox

Cr Cox said Mount St Thomas and Gwynneville public schools are among many schools which had expressed concern in the past.

"Mount St Thomas is really keen to have this done. That is a school that does not have footpaths in a lot of streets surrounding the school, doesn't have a lot of pedestrian crossings and the school community is really keen for it to be made more safe for them," she said.

"I am regularly contacted by parents who are really frustrated and particularly want to see zebra crossings so kids have right of way to cross the road and lowering of speed limits.

"Council has done good work in building footpaths in the last couple of years, and it is noticeable to see the increase in footpaths but they need to be supported by safe crossings."

Cr Cox said members of the Active Transport Reference Group have also been trying to get council to look at options to make the city more pedestrian friendly.

She added for schools, this meant looking at the school catchment, not just putting in a zebra crossing here or there........but also looking at the journey that kids need to take [walking or riding a bike] to school and making sure that everything is in place for it to be safe.

"If you think about it, encouraging and making it safe for those school journeys to be done on foot or by bike is a really important response to COVID," Cr Cox said.

"Not just that, it is also one of the ways we can solve the 9am and 3pm traffic crush, which even before COVID, was a thing.

"Lowering speed limits is absolutely important but also critically there has been changes to national road guidelines in recent months, which makes it easier and more possible to reduce speed limits to 30km/h..

"A lot of experts say 30km/h is a critical speed for reducing fatality if a car does collide with a kid.

"It is a speed when you are driving, you are expecting that you are sharing that space with people, you are expecting to see a bike, a kid, a ball bounce out in front of you and you can easily stop."