A stand-off between Georges River Council and the NSW Department of Education over a school bus shuttle service between Penshurst and Peakhurst has been resolved.
The department has been told by the Georges River Local Planning Panel to provide additional traffic safety measures to accommodate the relocation of Penshurst Public School staff and students to Peakhurst West Public School.
Penshurst Public School is being rebuilt and 450 students and 35 staff are to be temporarily relocated for two years to Peakhurst West Public School.
Peakhurst West Public has 320 students and 21 teaching staff, meaning a total of 770 students and 56 staff will be located at the site for two years.
Georges River Council traffic staff were concerned about the lack of traffic management plans which the department hesitated to provide.
The council was particularly concerned about accommodating a shuttle bus service for students between the two schools which is due to start at the beginning of the school year.
There was a stand-off between the council and the department over the location of the shuttle bus hub.
The council needed confirmation of the location of the bus hub so it could change street signage in Arcadia Street, Penshurst.
But the department was reluctant to give it.
Finally, the department said it wanted the school shuttle bus hub to operate from Hurstville Aquatic Centre which the council opposed.
Last month, the Georges River Local Planning Panel granted the department a deferred a commencement consent for a DA for the relocation of the Penshurst school to Peakhurst, subject to the preparation of a traffic management plan which will have to be approved by Georges River Council.
The traffic management will include employment of qualified marshals, staggering of shuttle bus pick-up and drop-offs, details of shuttle bus routes, the possible extension of bus bays, and the management of traffic and pedestrian movement.
The bus shuttle will take staff and students from Penshurst Public School site to Peakhurst West Public School in mornings and return in the afternoons.
Street signs will be modified, the kiss and ride area will be extended in Ogilvy Street and the bus zone in Belmore Road will be extended by 15-metres.
The kiss and ride area in Belmore Road will be relocated to the opposite side of the road and staggered start and finish times will be introduced.
The application initially considered the impacts of the relocation on the Peakhurst site with minimal regard to the impacts and logistics of the movement of staff and students from Penshurst to Peakhurst and return, according to the council’s report.
Georges River Council traffic staff requested this information but the Department of Education maintained this information was not relevant and did not provide it.
“Council officers continued to press for the information as they considered insufficient consideration had been given to the creation of a bus zone or hub in Penshurst and to the impacts on the road network, safety of the student and teachers in the transfer from one site to the other,” the council’s report to the panel stated.
The council raised concerns with the department regarding the location of the drop off and pick up zones the Penshurst site, the availability of cover for inclement weather and sanitary facilities at the site, and a safe place to marshal the children while waiting for the buses to arrive.
They were also concerned about the frequency of bus movements and a strategy for a child to get to school if they missed a bus.
The Department of Education remained reluctant to provide this information and said it would be provided at at later date.
The council finally received a traffic study from the department last September.
But this altered the drop-off and pick-up location from Arcadia Street to Cambridge Street where department proposed to use the Hurstville Aquatic Centre as the location of the proposed bus pick-up and drop-off location.
The department also told the council it had signed a commercial agreement with a bus company to operate the bus drop-off and pick-up from the aquatic centre.
But the council did not support the aquatic centre as a pick-up and drop-off location.
In November, the department advised the council that Arcadia Street, Penshurst would be the drop off and pick zones while the department looked for a suitable alternate location.
The council’s traffic committee recommended a number signage amendments for Arcadia Street to be incorporated into the traffic management plan.
A 50-metre bus zone will be installed on the western side of Arcadia Street, Penshurst, operating form 7.30am to 8.30am and 3.10pm to 4.10pm school days.
The existing no parking restriction during the morning peak times along the eastern side and the western side of Arcadia Street will be modified from 8am to 9.30am to 7.30am to 8.30am.
At Peakhurst, the existing 46-metres of ‘No Stopping restriction along the western side of Belmore Road will be converted to a bus zone to accommodate shuttle buses.
And a 60-metre zone of ‘P5 min, 8am to 9.30am, 2.30pm to 4pm, School Days’ will be installed along the scholl frontage on Ogilvy Street, PEakhurst, south of the existing kiss and ride zone,
The panel found that the temporary traffic generation caused by the move was not unreasonable and granted the deferred commencement subject to the traffic management plan being approved by the council’s traffic committee.