Bass Valley Primary School principal Leanne Edwards and school council member Emily Conklin – who also has a young daughter at the school – say there’s been lots of support by the local community to reduce the speed limit outside the school. mm041118

PARENTS with young children are pleading with VicRoads to reduce the speed limit outside the Bass Valley primary schools and children’s centre.
Motorists can drive at up to 80km/h while Bass Valley Primary School students are playing just metres from the road.
The limit drops to 60km/h during the peak morning and afternoon school times, but school officials and parents say it’s still too fast; and some drivers continue to do above the speed limit.
School council member Emily Conklin, who also has a young daughter at the primary school, started a petition last month demanding the speed limit be reduced.
She had asked VicRoads in June last year to reduce the limit. After waiting six months for a response, they said no.
Bass Valley Primary School staff, parents and school volunteers have been left scratching their heads – no one can understand why VicRoads refuses to decrease the limit.
“The amount of children accessing our school and the recently built Bass Valley Children’s Centre is huge,” she said.
“It just comes down to parents feeling their kids aren’t safe with the 80 km/h speed limit.”
When road workers or contractors cutting back trees come out to Corinella Road, outside the Bass Valley Primary School, the speed limit is dropped to 40km/h.
“I don’t understand how when kids can go outside the school it can be 60km/h, but it’s 40km/h for much older, responsible adults.”
Outside the senior Wonthaggi Secondary College campus, along Watt Street and McKenzie Street, the speed limit is permanently 40km/h.
The students at the senior campus are much older than the kids at Bass Valley.
“Every morning on the radio we hear them telling us to slow down to 40km/h around schools,” Emily said.
“So why is every school 40 except this one? Why are our kids deemed less important?”
Emily hasn’t come across anyone who says there are good reasons not to decrease the speed limit.
“It’s not just a school, it’s a hub for our community. There are swimming lessons, after-school care and there’s going to be a school holiday program.”
It gets worse. She says some drivers simply don’t do the 60km/h speed limit at all – ignoring or not noticing the changed limit during peak school times.
Ideally, she’d like to see the stretch of road outside the two facilities dropped to 40km/h permanently.
“We just don’t want an accident to happen.
“If VicRoads come back to us and say they’ll drop it to 60km/h, with 40km/h during peak times, then that would be good too. It’d be better than what it’s in place now.”
It’s understood there will be a meeting between VicRoads, the school, Bass Coast Shire Council, Victoria Police and the Department of Education to look at potential safety improvements.
But Emily says VicRoads just need to go out to the area during peak school times and see the risks.
“Why do we need the bureaucratic junk? People just don’t feel safe.
“What’s the issue? Let’s just get it done.”
Her comments were echoed by Bass Valley Primary School principal Leanne Edwards, who says it’s a “nightmare” for parents trying to get out of the car park.
“There’ve been lots of near misses,” she said. “I just don’t want anyone to get injured.”
You can sign the petition at www.change.org/p/vicroads-change-the-speed-limit-to-40km-outside-bass-valley-primary-school

VicRoads’ response

Acting eastern regional director of VicRoads, Pas Monacella, said they receive many requests for reductions to speed zones and all are considered against the Speed Zone Guidelines.
But the answer for Bass Valley was no.
“The existing 80km/h speed signs with an electronic 60km/h time-based school speed zone are a typical school speed zone arrangement required on high speed rural roads.
“We have looked into the school speed zone reduction request for outside the Bass Valley Primary School on Corinella Road and unfortunately, the current environment, infrastructure and speed zoning guidelines does not allow for the implementation of an electronic 40km/h time-based school speed zone, as there is no existing flagged school crossing.”