AFTER a number of ‘near misses’ in the school’s car park, Kelso High has closed the school’s front gate during peak traffic times, and plans are underway to lobby council for a designated drop-off zone near the school to improve safety and traffic congestion in the area.
On the advice of the Department, the school has began shutting the front gate between 8.30am until 9.15am and again between 3 and 3.45pm, a move school principal, Mick Sloan, said had made a significant impact to the safety of the students.
However, it has also created traffic congestion in the streets surrounding the school campus, especially at drop-off and pick-up times.
Mr Sloan said an ideal solution would be a designated drop-off zone, similar to zones operating outside Bathurst High and Bathurst Public School.
Bathurst High School’s drop-off zone was installed back in 2013 after the P and C became concerned with student’s safety amidst increased traffic flow to the area.
Chair of Bathurst Regional Council’s Traffic Committee, Councillor Warren Aubin agreed the situation at Kelso High School needed review, and said he would support the school’s proposal.
“View Street is woeful. There are kids in cars doing U-turns and parents doing U-turns and kids walking across the the road. It is just an accident waiting to happen and something needs to be done,” Cr Aubin said.
“The school need somewhere parents can pick up or drop off in a more orderly fashion.”
Cr Aubin described the current drop off and pick up arrangements surrounding Kelso High School as “willy-nilly.”
“Miriyan Drive isn’t too busy but Hughes Street and the front of the school is chaotic.
“Something needs to be done, it’s a large school with a lot of kids, it needs to be more orderly and safe for the students,” he said.
Acknowledging the new arrangement had created some difficulties with traffic movement Mr Sloan said a designated drop-off point would “certainly make life easier” and he would continue to work with council to rectify the problem.
The school’s Parent Focus Group also supported the proposal for a designated drop-off, writing in the school’s newsletter it’s plans to lobby both the RMS and council.
The Focus Group said locking the school gates in peak times was a “good idea” and stopped those who were “doing the wrong thing.”
“Our next step [is to] lobby Council/RMS for a drop-off area / no parking,” they said.
Director of Engineering Services , at Bathurst Regional Council Darren Sturgiss, said an inspection of the Hughes Street pedestrian access gate was conducted last week, as requested by a parent group of the school to council.
The RMS's Safety Around School's officer was also present.
“The inspection was with respect to overall safety at this location. The RMS is expected to provide council with a report regarding their observations,” he said.
“At this time, I am not aware of any direct application for the kiss and ride, however understand that this was one potential option discussed.”
The RMS report will be referred to the Traffic Committee for consideration.