Mildura Police and the Mildura Rural City Council (MRCC) met at the Mildura South Primary School crossing in Deakin Avenue this week to observe first hand the behaviour of motorists passing through the 40kph school zones.
With the school routine interrupted last year, and again recently by COVID lockdowns, police said that some motorist were out of the habit of slowing down in the school crossing precincts when the morning and afternoon 40kph zones are in operation.
Mildura Police, Acting Sergeant Thomas Kinnan said that while most drivers are careful, others need to be a little more patient around the school zone when the traffic levels during school terms increase.
“We ask people to be more aware of the kid’s safety, because obviously kids can be unpredictable, they are excited to be back with their friends who they may not of seen for sometime and can be distracted and with a greater influx of traffic, it can be hazardous around the schools,” he said.
“The road outside South Mildura Primary carries a lot of vehicles including trucks, and so extra caution on the part of those drivers is expected.”
Act. Sgt. Kinnan said that he didn’t believe it was necessary to designate the precinct near schools as 40kph zones at all times as has been suggested in some quarters. He believes the current system works well as it is.
“Having the speed restriction in place when the kids are coming and going from the school is adequate and doesn’t slow traffic at other times of the day,” he said.
Mildura Mayor Councillor Jason Modica said that Council’s involvement around school zones is related to compliance issues.
“Council has responsibility for parking in the school precinct during drop-off and pick-up times in the morning and afternoon, and we are here today to generally give support to VicPol in regards to all of the 40kph zones around the schools,” Cr Modica said.
“As the town grows, it is going to be more of an issue, particularly on streets like Deakin Avenue, with more development heading out toward the new sporting precinct.
“We are trying to reinforce to people, that slowing down in the school zones is the right thing to do and that they are in place to help the kids across the crossings safely and to just familiarise themselves with where they are around Mildura and that will benefit the community in the long run.
“Deakin Avenue is what you describe as mixed use, and it’s not tucked away like Irymple South or Nichols Point Primary. It’s front and centre, and it’s really only in the past 10 to 12 years that it has become a massive issue because, as the city expands, it is becoming the centre of town and with Deakin Avenue you have two roads to cross on either side of the centre plantation.”
MRCC Crossing Supervisor Dennis Murray who is on the crossing every week day morning and afternoon said that on the whole most motorists obeyed the 40kph speed limit, but not everyone.
“Generally the motorists are pretty good. There are some who musn’t be quite a wake, who don’t slow down and go through at a bit of speed,” he said.
“Thankfully not usually when the kids are about to cross and in fact a lot of people will stop before you even walk out onto the road – they are very conscious of the speed limit and so are most of the trucks. They know that while they are on a highway, it is a school crossing and they are very aware of what’s expected.”