Ms Jodie Harrison MP, Mr Tim Crakanthorp MP and Ms Sonia Hornery MP have today welcomed the results of the NSW School Safety Survey, with parents across the Charlestown, Newcastle and Wallsend electorates calling for improvements to pedestrian crossings, footpaths, parking, drop-off zones, public transport and cycling infrastructure around local schools.
Across the three electorates, almost 1,000 parents, teachers and residents responded to the survey, raising concerns and suggesting ideas on how to improve road safety and encourage children and families to walk and ride to school.
Parents were mostly concerned about:
• lack of footpaths
• safer crossing points on main roads
• poor driver behaviour around schools
• better access to public transport
State Member for Charlestown, Jodie Harrison, thanked all of the residents who filled in the School Safety Survey.
“There is no cookie-cutter solution to traffic issues around our schools. We must listen to the parents, teachers and neighbours who know better than anyone how to fix these issues.
“A lack of infrastructure, like footpaths, is a major barrier to kids using active transport in the Charlestown electorate.
“Safe places to cross the road and a lack of pedestrian crossings also came through strongly in the School Safety Survey.
“Parents want their children to be able to use active forms of transport to get to and from school. They know the benefits of having active kids, but many feel it’s just not safe,” said Ms Harrison.
State Member for Newcastle, Tim Crakanthorp, said the results of the survey identified some excellent projects that could be funded in a post-COVID stimulus package.
“At some stage all of my kids have been able to walk to school, which has been great for their independence and confidence,” he said.
“The large volume of responses to this survey clearly demonstrates that many other parents would like this opportunity too, and how a relatively small investment from the Government could remove countless cars from the morning and afternoon peaks.
“Improving crossings and walking and cycling paths would be perfect infrastructure projects to support local jobs while increasing safety in a post-COVID economy,” he said.
State Member for Wallsend, Sonia Hornery, said the survey showed there is a real hunger to have children ride, walk or catch public transport to school, but there is a clear lack of infrastructure that is preventing this.
“It’s great to see so many interested in working with us to address the issues in the electorate,” she said.
“The message from the survey is loud and clear. The lack of public transport in the Minmi, Fletcher and Maryland areas is clearly an issue in getting cars off the road at school drop-off and pick-up times.
“There have also been concerns about a lack of appropriate crossings on major roads like Minmi Road and Croudace Street.
“It beggars belief that in 2020, schools still don’t have safe pedestrian crossings, crossing supervisors or footpaths. The Government should commit to improving safety and creating local jobs by building this vital infrastructure now,” she said.
Over one million kids travel to and from school each day and the majority continue to be driven, compared to 40 years ago when 70% rode or walked. These short trips add to congestion on our roads, with the cost of congestion in Sydney alone set to increase from $8.1 billion in 2016 to $15.9 billion in 2031. If just 5km were shifted to walking or riding, speeds on our roads would increase by 50%.