Page 3737 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 23 October 2013
In June of this year, the New South Wales government announced that by the end of 2015 every school in New South Wales would have flashing school zone signs. Other states are taking up these policies because the research shows it is the best solution, it draws the motorists’ attention to the school zone and, most importantly, the pedestrians in this area.
Trinity Christian School, first and foremost, are seeking a pedestrian crossing, with appropriate signage to draw the motorists’ attention to children crossing and the school zone in general. Flashing lights have also been shown to be an appropriate form of signage for this purpose. Roads ACT have confirmed that of the 63 reported crashes involving pedestrians on ACT roads last year, five occurred within school zones. I do not believe the fact that only five pedestrians were hurt in school zones makes this issue any less important. We do not want to sit and wait for another child to be hit before we act. We need to be proactive, not reactive. Nothing is more important than the safety of our children.
I urge the government to support this motion today and act now, not wait for an accident to occur.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Housing, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Minister for Ageing) (4.37): I thank Ms Lawder for raising this matter, and I appreciate her interest in road safety around schools. To get straight to the heart of the matter, the traffic and safety issues around Trinity college are something I and Roads ACT are aware of, and they are issues Roads ACT is currently working on. It will take some time to do its full assessment. Members will be aware, no doubt, from reading the Southside Chronicle this week that this work is underway. The expectation is that any changes will be implemented in Roads ACT’s 2014 upgrades program.
As a general policy, all primary schools are provided with a 40-kilometre-an-hour school zone on the direct frontage of the school and a crossing facility. The crossing facility could be an underpass, a children’s crossing, a median island or a signalised crossing, depending on the location of the school and the traffic conditions on the surrounding streets. As would seem obvious, traffic activities reach peak levels around schools in the ACT during the morning and afternoon school arrival and departure times as parents are dropping off and picking up children, and such patterns, as you might expect, apply to the vast majority of schools in the ACT. Inquiries relating to road safety and traffic management around schools usually relate to traffic volume levels at such peak times, the speed of vehicle travel and illegal parking activities. It is fair to say that we get concerns, queries and complaints in all of those areas. Each of these inquiries is investigated by Roads ACT and considered as part of their normal day-to-day duties.
Investigations are always undertaken in consultation with the individual school as issues are raised. These investigations can result in improvements in infrastructure, such as signage, line marking or other traffic management facilities. Schools are also made aware about their role in improving safety through driver behaviour and the