Student safety at risk

Orana Catholic Primary School principal Christine Walsh with student Liliana Flynn... she is calling for introduction of a 40km/h school zone on Vahland Avenue. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Orana Catholic Primary School principal Christine Walsh with student Liliana Flynn... she is calling for introduction of a 40km/h school zone on Vahland Avenue. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

ORANA Catholic Primary School principal Christine Walsh believes a 40km/h school zone is needed on Vahland Avenue in, Willetton.

The school is located on the corner of Vahland and Querrin avenues, with no children’s crossing to ensure safe access across the busy dual carriageway.

Residents and councillors last week called for a lower speed limit and road improvements after another fatality on Vahland Ave.

But the City of Canning and Main Roads remain at odds over who is responsible for proposed changes.

Ms Walsh believes a school zone with flashing lights would encourage motorists to slow down as they approach the school.

She said all the schools in the area – including Rossmoyne SHS on Karel Avenue, Corpus Christi on Murdoch Drive and Willetton PS on Apsley Road – had 40km/h school zones.

“Anyone attempting to cross would find it challenging given the speed of the vehicles and the fact it is two lanes in both directions,” Ms Walsh said.

“We see vehicles travelling at speed past the school on a daily basis.”

Ms Walsh said four fatalities on one stretch of road reinforced the need for a lower speed tolerance.

“I find it difficult to understand that we post signs to indicate to motorists that there are wildlife crossing a road but we won’t post signs to keep children safe?” she said.

Ms Walsh has been advocating for a school zone since Term 4 last year but has had no luck convincing Main Roads, who believe the road is not ‘suitable’.

Orana Mum Amanda Walker said her children walked to school everyday and felt strongly about having a 40km/h school zone to improve safety for all kids.

She said a fatal accident outside her high school on Murdoch Drive in 1997 that claimed the life of a student was a tragedy which she remembers vividly.

“It looks like Main Roads are waiting for another pedestrian death before they take action,’’ she said.

Canning Mayor Paul Ng said speed limits on roads within WA were set by the Commissioner of Main Roads Western Australia.

“The City of Canning is happy to work with the appropriate authorities to address issues of road safety,’’ he said.

Main Roads said while it undertakes the approval, installation and maintenance of speed zones and associated signage on all roads, the City of Canning would need to submit a formal request for the limit to be reviewed on Vahland.