Plan to remove pedestrian crossing near Ballina school
A REQUEST to relocate a pedestrian crossing near Ballina Public School in a bid to improve safety for children may have backfired, and result in no zebra crossings at all.
Ballina Shire Council last week resolved to start public consultation on the plan to remove the crossing in Crane St, to the east of Martin St, after pedestrian and traffic counts didn't meet Roads and Maritime Services' standards for such a crossing.
And there are no plans to relocate the crossing as counts for a proposed new site, which is used by more students, also failed the RMS test.
The attention on the crossing came after a representative of Ballina Public School requested the Crane St crossing be moved to the busier western side of Martin St to make school drop-offs and pick-ups safer.
An initial count of pedestrians and vehicles at the existing and proposed new crossing site was undertaken in December 2017, but neither site met RMS standards.
Ballina Coast High School was under construction at the time, so another count was taken on November 14 last year after the new school opened.
The new count at the existing site recorded 23 pedestrians, including seven school children, used the existing crossing between 8.30am and 9.30am, and 36 vehicles were counted.
Between 3pm and 4pm, 28 people, including eight students, used the crossing and 36 vehicles were again counted.
For the proposed western site, more school students crossed the road - 32 in the morning and 42 in the afternoon, for a total pedestrian count of 61 and 64 respectively.
More vehicles also were counted, with 148 in the morning and 141 in the afternoon.
However, those numbers fell short of the RMS standard for traffic movements at a pedestrian crossing near a school, which requires a minimum of 199 vehicles for two one-hour periods before and after school.
The council's Local Traffic Committee considered a pedestrian refuge at the western site, but it was decided there was not enough space to build that infrastructure.
Council staff reported that there is "considerable evidence that pedestrian crossings do not necessarily enhance pedestrian safety in circumstances where the warrant volumes (standards) are not achieved."
"When there are low pedestrian numbers using marked crossings, regular motorists become used to the crossing being clear and can be slow to react when a pedestrian is present," staff reported.