Mandurah school zone snapshots - part one

Journalist Brianna Johnson visited school zones around Mandurah to get a snapshot of the busiest spots.

Halls Head Community College.

Halls Head Community College.

GETTING through school zones before or after the bell rings can be a struggle.

While many Mandurah families are fortunate enough to be able to walk, cycle or take a short drive to get their children to and from school, those peak times can cause a headache for everyone, even those who aren’t in the area to drop off children.

To get an idea of some of the trickiest spots in Mandurah, I visited four local schools during the course of a week and took notes on what I saw.

I recorded the number of students walking or riding to school unaccompanied by an adult; the number of cars parked on curbs, garden beds or on the road and if there was traffic congestion in the area.

Some of what I saw during my week of observation ranged from heartening, to concerning to downright frightening.

At one point I saw a student exit a car on the left-hand side and run out from behind the car without looking, while another car drove towards her.

I was terrified I was about to see her get run over.

One of the first schools I visited was Halls Head Community College (HHCC).

The college is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar upgrade to cater for the influx of students set to move onto the campus next year when year seven becomes part of high school.

HHCC is bordered by Old Coast Road, Casuarina Drive and Honeysuckle Ramble, and Casuarina and Honeysuckle are school zones.

On my way to the school one of the things that concerned me was students getting off the bus on the left hand side of Old Coast Road and having to cross four lanes to get onto Casuarina Drive.

While the school has a dedicated pick-up/drop-off lane within its grounds, Catalina Drive became quite congested during my visit.

Cars stopped frequently on Catalina for the crosswalk, which was used by a majority of the students, while others crossed Catalina (heading towards the school) at the Old Coast Road traffic lights.

The congestion was not helped by the many cars attempting to turn right onto Honeysuckle Ramble to reach the back of the school grounds and Halls Head Primary School.

At times the cars were banked up from Old Coast Road.

Many of the students on bicycles entered the school grounds from Honeysuckle Ramble as this is where the bicycle rack is located.

It is understandable that most areas around schools struggle with the morning and afternoon peak times, as this is when hundreds of parents and guardians are there.

During the day, roads around schools are generally quite quiet – as is the case with many Mandurah schools, particularly those in high density housing areas.

But having that high density housing allows for the convenience of living close to your child’s school but also causes headaches during those busiest times.

Final tally:

Students walking unaccompanied by adults: Approximately 79.

Students on bicycles: 11.

Students on bicycles heading to Halls Head Primary School: 10.

Cars parked on curbs or garden beds: 9.

Cars pulled over on the road to drop off students: 6.