NSW pedestrian safety audit could extend school zones on popular transport routes

Increasing school zones around popular transport routes will be one of the options to be considered in a wide-ranging audit to increase safety for students travelling to school.

Data from Transport for NSW (TfNSW) found about 25 per cent of schoolchildren walk to catch public transport to schools, however, these routes are often outside of 40km/h school zones.

The agency is now investigating options on how to increase safety measures, such as adding barriers near popular bus stops.

Implementing safer speed limits outside of school zones will also be considered if there is evidence changes will lower the risk of road accidents and collisions.

It’s understood, MPs across Western Sydney have been pushing for change, citing concerns where public transport routes are near busy intersections or main roads.

NSW Roads Minister John Graham called on school communities, parents and carers to engage in the audit and help identify any areas of concern.

“Children are our most precious pedestrians and we want the safest possible environment for them to get between home and school,” he said.

“Transport for NSW has been tasked with looking at the busy thoroughfares used by schoolchildren that are located close to school zones.

“The NSW government is investing in safer walking and riding options but if there is more that can be done, we will do it.”

On Tuesday, NSW Premier Chris Minns said the audit is in its infancy.

“We don’t have any plans to do that,” he said.

“Obviously, from time to time, road safety experts will come and present give evidence to the government but I don’t want people to jump at shadows here.”

Opposition roads spokeswoman Natalie Ward said she was in supportive of a potential plan to alter school zone parameters.

“Local communities know their road environment better than bureaucrats, as long as it is sensible and consistent it is something worth exploring,” she said.

“Any proposal needs investment behind it, which is why it is surprising the Labor government cut road safety investment by 25 per cent in their first budget.”

In January, the government also announced a $10m Active Transport to School investment to encourage schoolchildren to walk, ride or skate to school.

The program allows councils to apply for $50,000 to $800,000 grants to apply for programs, including widening footpaths, upgrading pedestrian crossings and planting trees around schools.

Leave a Comment