By Cam Lucadou-Wells
The dangerous traffic woes plaguing Dandenong North Primary School are a matter for the local council to solve, according to the Department of Education and Training.
For years, there’s been an increasingly perilous mix of parents and students crossing streets clogged with cars as the school has soared in population.
In December, a resident was crushed between cars during a school drop-off time in Woodlee Street.
“The Department has raised concerns about this issue with the Greater Dandenong Council who are responsible for street parking regulations and traffic management,” a spokesperson said.
“We know that some schools, particularly those in residential, built-up areas, can face some challenges with parking during pick up and drop off times.
“Safety around schools is everyone’s responsibility – for parents, students and the local community.”
A nearby resident Kyle Gibbons said the department should use land at the former Cleeland Secondary College site across the road as a solution.
The land could be used for on-site parking, or to enable an inlet parking bay for parents to quickly drop-off and pick-up their children, Mr Gibbons said.
“Otherwise we’re just waiting for someone else to be hurt.”
Dandenong North Primary School’s staff have arrangements to park at Dandenong High School and a nearby church.
It has also communicated to parents of safe drop-off and pick-up points further away from the primary school.
Residents have also suggested making Woodlee Street one-way during school peak times – to avoid the current two-way traffic bedlam.
Greater Dandenong engineering services director Julie Reid recently said investigations found a one-way system on Woodlee Street would not help traffic flow or safety.
“The traffic volumes and congestion on David Street mean that a southbound one-way system would not noticeably reduce congestion.
“A northbound one-way system would mean that all pupils would have to cross the road to get picked up.
“Introducing a one-way system would compromise road safety, encourage higher traffic speeds and increase the likelihood of a serious accident.”
Cr Matthew Kirwan foreshadowed a motion for the council to further investigate solutions.
“I would rather not pre-judge the matter except to say in general that Council and the Education Department need to work together to solve these issues.
“If further investigation shows that it has been exacerbated by the very large increase in student numbers at Dandenong North Primary School, then the Education Department need to take responsibility for assisting with any impacts caused by that.”