Petition gets action

PEOPLE power has helped Maylands parents convince Bayswater council to beef up its Safe Routes to School report.

A petition of 243 signatures was presented to Tuesday’s meeting calling for the council to produce a comprehensive report that let the community know what safety measures were to be implemented and when.

In mid-2022 the council started the Safe Routes pilot project by asking families from Maylands Peninsula Primary School to identify what made them reluctant to let their kids walk to school, from car-focussed intersections to sun-scorched footpaths.

But they were disappointed by a vague “outcomes report” that offered little reassurance that their efforts would be rewarded with some action (“Parents slam report,” Voice, January 21, 2023).

Councillor Elli Petersen-Pik floated the safety plan back in 2019 and presented the petition at Tuesday’s meeting, along with a motion to convert the outcomes report in an “implementation plan”.

Cr Petersen-Pik wants a “list of detailed actions at specific locations along with estimated timeframes” and says it should be treated as seriously as other council initiatives suich as its car parking management plans.

He thinks Safe Routes might be an Australian-first, as it looks at local government’s role in creating safer infrastructure around schools, rather than leaving it to state bodies such as Main Roads.

“Many parents submitted dozens of comments during the consultation and there were even a few walking tours organised by parents,” Cr Petersen-Pik said.

“We finally reached the conclusive stage that everyone was looking for, including residents from other schools, as the Maylands Peninsula Primary School is our trial project.

“If we get the process right with this school, things will go even smoother when we will progress with other schools soon.”

Cr Petersen-Pik said it appeared staff already knew what the planned actions were, but they needed to share it with the community.

“This will show that this council is serious in supporting pedestrians and cyclists, and trying to help reduce parking pressures around schools.”

Councillor Lorna Clarke backed his motion, saying as a new mother she’d recently pushed a pram along some of the footpaths near the primary school, which had 

“fundamentally changed” her perception of them.

“I think we really need to do this,” she said.

Councillor Michelle Sutherland said young people would continue walking once they hit high school if they got a grounding early enough.

“You can’t underestimate the education you get walking to school and I think it’s a great investment,” Cr Sutherland said.

One Bayswater councillor said they probably wouldn’t let their kids ride through Maylands, but it took a petition from residents to get some (almost) action. Photo courtesy Elli Petersen-Pik.

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