Last year, Yass Council successfully applied for an $871,306 grant from the Federal and NSW Governments’ 2021/22 School Zone Infrastructure Sub-Program. Council used this funding in a joint investment of $1.5 million for their Safety Around Schools Project in an effort to improve pedestrian safety at Yass Public School, Berinba Public School, Gundaroo Public School, Mt Carmel Catholic School and Sutton Public School.

Yass Public School

  • Install a dedicated bus lane with safety barrier on Laidlaw Street
  • Install a dedicated ‘kiss and drop’ zone
  • Increase car parking including separated teacher parking

Berinba Public School

  • Install 450 metres of shared pathway between Morton Avenue and Yass Valley Way
  • Install safe pedestrian crossings at intersections

Gundaroo Public School

  • Install a pedestrian refuge in front of the school
  • Install a ‘kiss and drop’ zone
  • Install a disabled car park and relocate the bus stop

Mt Carmel School

  • Upgrade Rossi Street children’s crossing

Sutton Public School

  • Install a pedestrian refuge in front of the school

The long-awaited projects are now complete with significant improvements to pedestrian areas around Yass schools. Yass Public School was a top priority in the budget and was allocated $530,000 in grant money. Yass Public School has gained increased car parking, including separated teacher parking, a ‘kiss and drop’ zone, and a relocated bus stop with safety barriers to Laidlaw Street.

Yass Public School

 

“Our car park is finally finished and it is working beautifully. Children are safer and buses are picking up and delivering students in a safer and quicker routine,” Yass Public School wrote in their newsletter. The school would like to thank Yass Council and Divalls, the construction company that worked on the project. The school is encouraging families using the new drop zone to unload children from the door closest to the school for extra safety. If this is impossible due to car seat arrangements, parents are advised to get out and escort children safely to the pathway.

Similar upgrades on a smaller $64,000 budget have been added to Gundaroo Public School, where a ‘kiss and drop’ zone and disabled car park has been installed.  The Gundaroo Public School bus stop has also been relocated, and a pedestrian refuge has been installed in front of the school. 

450 metres of shared pathway between Morton Avenue and Church Street has been installed around Berinba Public School, which was allocated  $530,000. Safe pedestrian crossings at intersections have also been installed in the Berinba area.

Mount Carmel Catholic School saw a $64,000 upgrade to their children’s crossing on Rossi Street. 

Mt Carmel School, Yass

While the Safety around Schools Project was carried out, Council and the Federal Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program also invested $128,000 to complete safety upgrades at Sutton Public School. 

The completion of the Safety around Schools Project is a great victory for the local community, Yass Council, and Transport NSW. For more than 10 years, they have advocated for funding to improve pedestrian safety around the local schools, in particular, the student drop-off and pick-up zone at Yass Public School.

Council’s Road Safety Officer Meryl Hinge and Engineer Terry Cooper secured the grant in 2021 and guided the design process, assisting the Yass Valley Traffic Facilities Committee. Over the past year Council has worked together with Yass Public School  to find a solution to traffic problems for families, pedestrians and buses trying to use the drop-off and pick-up simultaneously. 

Ms Hinge said she was pleased to finally tackle some of the highest priority safety issues around local schools.

“With the current amount of approved developments all over the local government area, it was a great opportunity to make upgrades now and the federal grant was a timely windfall,” she said.

According to Yass Public School Principal Michelle Fahey, Yass Public School has grown by a third over the past few years, contributing to the busy traffic problems outside the school. As the school continues to grow, the new Safety Around Schools project infrastructure will be invaluable in keeping the school children safe.

 Principal Fahey said the car park upgrade has made a huge difference to the whole school.

“Our students are safer with the buses doing their pick-up and drop-off on the main road. The staff have their own car park and, as they arrive before and leave later than families, it makes our mornings and afternoons much safer in our school car park,” Ms Fahey said.

Former Chair of the Local Traffic Committee and Deputy Mayor Jasmin Jones said funding for the much-needed upgrades was successfully secured by Council after many years of advocating Transport for NSW on behalf of the schools and community.

“Special thanks needs to go to our engineering staff and Road Safety Officer Meryl Hinge for securing the grants and liaising with stakeholders over a ten-year period to get these projects funded and completed,” Cr Jones said.

“I believe the outcome has increased safety for our children and reduced traffic delays for the bus service, particularly around Yass Public School. It took years of advocacy from schools, bus drivers, parents and Council to achieve this outcome.”