School to discuss crossing safety with council

ST FRANCIS Xavier Primary School hopes to begin talks with Ballarat City Council for a traffic management plan and crossing supervision at the school.

After a minor bingle out the front of St Francis Xavier school on Monday, the principal has been manning the crossing to ensure safety. Principal Paul Bissinella helps pupils Milly Sharp, Maddie Bolt and Kate McClure cross the road. FILE IMAGE

After a minor bingle out the front of St Francis Xavier school on Monday, the principal has been manning the crossing to ensure safety. Principal Paul Bissinella helps pupils Milly Sharp, Maddie Bolt and Kate McClure cross the road. FILE IMAGE

This comes after continuous cries from the school community for something to be done to manage traffic before a serious accident happens, with a car clipping a bus on Monday. 

School principal Paul Bissinella has since then been manning the crossing each night after school. 

“Our biggest priority is the safety of children,” Mr Bissinella said.

The school would open talks with the council for its option to increase safety, whether it be road construction, parking alternatives or/and crossing supervision, he said. 

“In the past three to four years, we’ve grown from a school with 300 pupils to 350. If we grow by another 20 to 50 kids, we will need space for the extra cars.” 

A crossing was constructed at the school in 2012, but there is still limited car parking and a school-enforced system where drivers must veer off the road and drive around a tree before  exiting the way they came. 

City of Ballarat City infrastructure acting general manager Chris Hutton said eligibility for a supervised school crossing was determined by VicRoads against a set of criteria which related to traffic volume and pedestrian usage.

“Where a school believes it needs a supervised crossing, council is happy to discuss these criteria and initiate a process with VicRoads so that an assessment can be made,” he said. 

VicRoads western region director Ewen Nevett said each year VicRoads invited councils to apply for crossing supervisor subsidies. 

“Council allocations are determined using criteria based on the number of child pedestrians and vehicles and the speed limit at a particular crossing,” Mr Nevett said. 

He said councils were not restricted to the allocations and could appoint a supervisor at any time, on a voluntary or paid basis, provided the person was properly trained. 

“If an application is made for an assessment of St Francis Xavier Primary School site, VicRoads will work with council to determine if this site should be considered.”

nicole.cairns@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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