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Call for crossing to save our kids

The Warwick SHS P&C; supports a zebra crossing outside the school, which could replace the existing traffic islands adjacent to the Harvey Norman Centre car park.
The Warwick SHS P&C; supports a zebra crossing outside the school, which could replace the existing traffic islands adjacent to the Harvey Norman Centre car park. Southern Downs Regional Council

TRAFFIC chaos around Warwick State High School is set to be tackled by the region's newly sworn-in councillors, 18 months after a safety report was first tabled.

With fears of mishaps between students crossing Palmerin St and passing traffic during drop-off and pick-up times, the high school's P&C has called for a raft of new safety measures, including a zebra crossing.

Council engineers will present a range of options to the general council meeting to be held on Tuesday, after Deputy Mayor Ross Bartley urged progress at the last council meeting of the previous term in April.

As well as a formalised crossing, safety measures could include an extended five-minute drop-off zone outside the high school, improved signage and linemarking, a proper refuge island and a "shared zone" similar to the one on Palmerin St in the CBD.

The council officers will also recommend the high school discourages students from crossing the road in the vicinity of Supa IGA Warwick and promotes dropping students off on the school-side of Palmerin St only.

While P&C president Mark Wheeldon is in favour of physical measures, he is dubious when it comes to modifying student behaviour.

"I don't know that the school has the ability or the resources to enforce where people drop their kids off, or where those students might go once they are at school," Mr Wheeldon said yesterday.

"It could certainly be flagged in the newsletter, but it's hard if students decide to go across the road before school to get their lunch or whatever it may be.

"Only dropping off on the school side would be impractical for most parents - you'd be doing block after block finding a place to pull in."

Mr Wheeldon said the P&C's sole objective was to improve safety for students when crossing Palmerin St, and that a zebra crossing, plus a shared zone and reduced speed limit, would be the best solution.

"Depending on where it is, a zebra crossing could mean the loss of some car parking, but it can be quite frightening in that area during peak times," he said.

He agreed a crossing could go where the existing traffic islands are, near the entrance to the Harvey Norman Centre car park, but pointed out it was close to the Victoria St roundabout and would need prominent signage, currently non-existent.

Mr Wheeldon laughed at the suggestion of an underpass, saying Education Queensland "may as well build another school".

The council report states that as many as 12 parking spaces would need to go in order for a crossing to be installed, which would have a negative impact on nearby WIRAC, Supa IGA Warwick and the Warwick Hotel.

Cr Ross Bartley said the safety issue at the high school was part of a wider traffic study being done for Warwick,

He said he was "greatly concerned" at the lack of a plan by the school for more teacher and student parking.

"Whether you choose to believe it or not, the high school is going to expand in student numbers, and more and more students seem to be acquiring a vehicle these days," he said.

"All of the streets around the high school are busy come 3pm, and you have a state of chaos on Palmerin St.

"It needs to be a council decision, and we'll look at the advice of the engineers and go from there."

Topics:  crossing, p&c, warwick state high school


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