'Fighting for years': Renewed efforts for children's crossing on Old Coast Road

Road safety: MP Zak Kirkup, Falcon Primary School principal Warren Bachman and councillors Jenny Green and Merv Dary, with parents and local residents next to Old Coast Road on National Walk to School Day. Photo: Supplied.
Road safety: MP Zak Kirkup, Falcon Primary School principal Warren Bachman and councillors Jenny Green and Merv Dary, with parents and local residents next to Old Coast Road on National Walk to School Day. Photo: Supplied.

Parents of Falcon Primary School children are worried someone will die on Old Coast Road if a manned crossing isn't installed.

Despite lobbying the City of Mandurah and the State Government for a number of years, the issue remains unresolved.

Many children have to cross the highway going to and from school or catching the bus and with the large volume of traffic going at 90 kilometres per hour, concerned parents say "it's an accident waiting to happen".

Jo Dos Santos, a parent representative on the Falcon Primary School board has been battling the issue for two years, since moving to the area. She says other parents had been lobbying for much longer, but the fight was not easy.

The crux of the issue is that a children's crossing can only be installed on roads with a posted speed of 70km/h or less, but the speed limit where the crossing is being proposed is 90km/h.

The Falcon Primary P&C has enlisted the help of MP Zak Kirkup who contacted Minister for Transport, Rita Saffioti requesting a safety review in September 2017. The response identified no suitable locations that warranted a guarded school crossing.

In order to meet the criteria a petition of 347 signatures was presented to Parliament supporting a reduction of speed along Old Coast Road from Peelwood Parade in Halls Head to Estuary Road in Dawesville to 70km/h, with the installation of a children's crossing in the Falcon/Wannanup area.

Mr Kirkup also raised a Grievance in Parliament to the Minister for Transport, the outcome of which was a pedestrian study completed by Main Roads. The findings indicated the requirements for the warden controlled children's crossing had not been met because students were crossing at a number of different points.

When recently conducting a traffic count with her husband, Mrs Dos Santos said she didn't notice anyone crossing at other places.

"Look, there is already a facility to cross, so I don't think it would be a problem. Nobody crossed at any other point," she said.

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"Obviously I wasn't aware [how bad it was] until we did the count. I was shocked to see how many vehicles are going along that road at such high speeds.

Obviously I wasn't aware [how bad it was] until we did the count. I was shocked to see how many vehicles are going along that road at such high speeds.

Jo Dos Santos

"I saw a woman with a pram and a small child trying to cross the road. She stood in the median strip for so long waiting to get across. She said she does this morning and afternoon every day and it's a nightmare."

Another concerned parent who is lobbying for a crosswalk, Bronwyn Dodd, said her youngest son who is in Year 5 keeps "pestering" to be allowed to walk to school on his own.

"But I'm not confident to let him after my husband had a near miss taking the kids to school," Ms Dodd said.

The issue isn't one facing just primary school children either, with many high school students and elderly residents crossing the road to access buses.

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"Quite a few senior citizens in Pleasant Grove would love to use the bus, but they don't because they're not confident of getting across the road quickly enough.

"Speed limits change so often along that stretch of road and it's really confusing," Ms Dodd said.

Mr Kirkup, at a recent National Walk to School day event in Falcon, said: "We have been fighting for years now to get these much deserved upgrades...there is an ongoing need for this crossing to be dealt with as soon as possible. We cannot continue to put lives of children and those crossing the road at risk through this shoddy infrastructure."