Parents slam report

Currently only a few kids brave the streets and walk to school in Maylands.

A DO-LITTLE council report on improving safety for kids walking to school has been slammed by parents at Maylands Peninsula Primary School.

In mid-2022 Bayswater council’s  Safe Routes to School pilot project surveyed Maylands residents to identify the problems deterring kids from walking to school.

It raised issues such as intersections which prioritised cars over kids, sun-scorched stretches lacking street trees, and broken, uneven or absent footpaths (“Scary streets scuttle walk to school dreams,” Voice, May 21, 2022).

The survey got 281 responses, with 105 identifying specific hazards. 

The boldly titled “Outcomes Report” for the project was released last month, but it fails to live up to the name, say critics.  

Maylands resident Charlotte Dudley’s kids go to Maylands Peninsula and says “unfortunately the final outcomes report delivered by the City of Bayswater isn’t what the community was promised.

“It’s more of a summary report than a proper action plan and it doesn’t adequately address the safety concerns that the community identified.”

The report says five tree pruning requests have been completed, as have 19 path maintenance requests. But those routine fixes are a sliver of the actions requested, with the balance remaining under consideration and subject to future funding. 

Ms Dudley wants a more detailed plan that sets out specific actions and a timeline of when they would be be delivered.

“Children really want to be able to walk and bike to school and a lot of parents would welcome not having to chauffeur their kids everywhere by car, but they need to feel confident that the local streets are safe enough,” she said 

“The City of Bayswater needs to step up and take kids’ safety concerns seriously.”

So far 185 people have signed an online petition calling for more action, and supporters are planning to make deputations to the January 24 council briefing.

Safe Routes stemmed from a motion raised by councillor Elli Petersen-Pik in 2019 (“Kids safety push,” Voice, August 17, 2019), and he is likewise unimpressed by the Outcomes Report.

Cr Petersen-Pik said this week: “Parents from the school have recently raised concerns with me about the quality of the final report and that it is not the long-term plan that was expected to be delivered as per the previous council decision. 

“There are no specific actions for implementation, despite the fact that the city received dozens of comments from parents about specific locations requiring attention, including dangerous intersections and crossings, the lack of shade along various streets and the need for some additional footpaths.”

He’s planned a followup notice-of-motion for the January meeting requesting the council CEO “convert the recently published ‘Outcomes Report’… into an ‘Implementation Plan’ by providing a list of detailed actions at specific locations along with estimated timeframes for implementation”. 

He has requested the implementation plan be presented to council by May 2023. 

The pilot project for Maylands has been followed up with other Safe Routes surveys at Camboon, Bayswater, Embleton and Noranda primary schools which are still in the works.

by DAVID BELL

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