Scary streets scuttle walk to school dreams

• Dilpreet Kaur, 7, a Maylands Peninsula Primary School student who’d love a safer route to walk.

A LACK of footpaths, fast road speeds, and super-wide intersections are preventing students from walking to school according to Transition Town Bayswater.

The community organisation ran walk and talk events over the past two weekends to map out ways to make safer routes to Maylands Peninsula Primary school.

TTB volunteer Charlotte Dudley says the key problems flagged included the traffic being too fast in the area, narrow or non-existent footpaths, a lack 

of trees for shade, and wide intersections that kids found hard to cross.

Fast drivers

“We’ve heard loud and clear that kids in Maylands want to walk, ride and scoot to school but they told us there are too many fast drivers who are not looking out for them,” Ms Dudley says.

“Parents told us they would love to be freed from taxi driver duties but want to feel confident that the local streets are safe enough for their kids to walk and ride.

“Our streets belong to everyone and there’s a lot the City of Bayswater can do to make the streets safer and more inviting for children to walk or bike to school. 

“Rolling out footpaths and planting more street trees invites people to walk more, while narrowing intersections will calm driving and make it easier and safer for children to cross the street.”

TTB is packaging up the feedback to put to Bayswater council, which is currently consulting on the “Safe Routes to School” project until May 20 to figure out what safety upgrades to prioritise.

The WA transport department’s 2021 report into the declining rate of walking and cycling to schools found the rate of kids walking to school dropped as low as 20 per cent in Perth. The national average is 25 per cent, down from 75 per cent in the 1970s. The drop’s been fuelled by a lack of pedestrian routes, bad traffic and more cars, safety concerns, and parents’ work constraints preventing them from walking or riding with younger kids.

The department’s Safe Routes program is tackling suburbs one at a time to try to shift the trend, as driving makes for worse health, more costs from cars on the road and travel time, and more crashes.

by DAVID BELL

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