In August 2014, just before school pick up, two cars collided along Brisbane Water Dve in Point Clare.
Both cars ended up in the front fence of Point Clare Public School. This incident highlighted what residents, school and community groups have been saying for years, that there needs to be a 40km zone along this stretch of Brisbane Water Drive. However, despite a 2012 comprehensive traffi c study carried out by members of Point Clare’s School Council, the 2014 car accident, letters to RMS, the now defunct Gosford Council as well as State and Local politicians, Brisbane Water Dve remains 60kms at school drop off and pick up times. The sticking point, it seems, is the lack of a ‘front gate’’, even though we have examples of other schools on the Coast, notably East Gosford Public School, that has its front gate on Webb St but still manages to have a 40km zone on the Central Coast Hwy.
The concession here is that East Gosford Public School has a small side entrance onto the Central Coast Hwy. Check out Ettalong Public School. The school’s gate is in Karingi St yet nearby Barrenjoey Rd has a 40km zone. In this instance, houses run along the Barrenjoey Rd school boundary, meaning there is not even the obligatory ‘side entrance’. Anyone driving to Sydney will know Knox Grammar has a 40km zone along the Pacifi c Hwy, yet its main gate is in Woodville Ave. Currently Point Clare students access the school by either Takari Ave or Scott St. Scott St residents have been lobbying council for years to make the road safer by providing footpaths as well as kerb and guttering. Currently the lack of these basic services means parents walk their children on a very busy road. When it rains, they are met with a level of water akin to the Nile. Heading north, there are no footpaths on the bends along either side of Brisbane Water Dve between Lorraine and Tania Dve. There is no footpath along either side of Brisbane Water Dve between Tania Dve and Koolinda Ave.
The first appearance of a footpath is in front of the Orana Retirement Village, so why would parents want to risk their children’s lives by walking them to school on non-existent paths? Opponents of a 40km zone may well say that these kids can walk along the bike track which snakes its way behind Fagan Park, past the Squadron and along the train line to Aldi. But then the kids have to walk back along Brisbane Water Dve and still try to cross Takari Ave to get into school grounds. A set of traffi c lights in front of the school on Brisbane Water Dve would allow students to walk to school safely, lessening the need for parents/carers to drive their children to school. This would allow the existing southbound and northbound bus stops in front of the school to be utilised in a safe manner. A 40km zone would decrease the risk to all pedestrians at two busy times of the day. RMS has stated that they will soon conduct a review of the appropriateness of a 40km Zone at Point Clare. For everyone’s sake, let us hope they do not use the front gate scenario as their only measure.
Email, Aug 19, 2016 Tracey Hawkins Budge, Point Clare