Growing safety issues caused by toll-dodging rat-runners is prompting Georges River Council to undertake a new traffic study of the Hurstville Education Precinct.
The Education precinct incorporates five local schools - Hurstville Public School, Hurstville Boys High School, Sydney Technical College, Bethany College Hurstville, and St Mary's Star of the Sea.
The schools joined forces calling for a school safety zone to be declared for the suburb's educational precinct following the death of a student in a traffic accident outside Hurstville Public School in September, 2019.
More than 15,000 people signed a petition demanding safer streets around the schools.
In January, 2021, the NSW Government approved extended 40 kilometre-an-hour safety zones around the Hurstville schools on Forest Road, Crosby Avenue, Ethel Lane and Durham and Lily Streets to slow down traffic in areas where children go to and from school.
But due to worsening traffic conditions, Councillor Colleen Symington has called for a new traffic study.
Cr Symington submitted a Notice of Motion at last night's council meeting calling for the council to undertake a further Traffic Study in the Hurstville Educational Precinct, once the installation of proposed Traffic Signals at Wright Street, Durham Street and Forest Road are completed, to determine future improvements to pedestrian safety in the Precinct.
She was unanimously supported by the council.
"Thousands of school students walk and ride to these schools daily," Cr Symington said.
"The Principals of these schools along with parents are very concerned for their safety even after the improvements that were implemented as a result of the Bizios 2017 Traffic Study.
"Since that report was undertaken there has been a significant increase in traffic volumes with cars and trucks rat-running through our local roads to avoid the increased tolls.
"This has increased the risk to students bearing in mind that road trauma is the number one cause of death in school aged children.
"The reality is we need to manage this situation so we can keep our children and community safe," Cr Symington said.
The $128 million Landmark Square Precinct project at 61 Forest Road, which will include a 145-room hotel and 254 apartments, requires the installation of traffic signals at the intersection of Forest Road and Durham Street.
Georges River Council officers have collaborated with Transport for NSW and the Department of Education to identify improvements to the traffic signals at Forest Road and Lily Street to increase pedestrian safety.
Final designs for this intersection have been completed.
Transport for NSW has indicated that consideration would be given to an expanded 40km/h zone in this area.
"By August works should have commenced on the Durham Street and Forest Road traffic lights which once finished will formalise pedestrian movements in that area and slow down the traffic," Cr Symington said.
"There are also the proposed improvements to the traffic signals at the Forest Road and Lily Street intersection to increase safety," she said.
"It makes perfect sense that Georges River Council commissions a new Traffic Study to get a clearer picture of what is actually happening in relation to the increased volumes of traffic and the effectiveness of the traffic improvements - and identify any other ways that safety can be improved.
"For several reasons the precinct did not meet the Transport for NSW criteria to be included in the 30km trial but there is the possibility of a local traffic area 40 km scheme being introduced which is something that the new Traffic Study may identify."
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