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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

School drop-offs and new enrollments are exacerbating Gold Coast traffic woes

busy street full of cars

Traffic congestion near private schools on the Gold Coast has been described as “terrible” by a leading transportation academic, who said it was having a huge impact on the community.

Professor Matthew Burke of Griffith University’s Transportation Research Group said a rapid increase in interstate migration and enrollment in private schools is adding to significant road delays across the city.

He said some private schools did not even offer buses and the areas around the schools were becoming increasingly chaotic as parents dropped students.

“They’re slowing everyone else on those major routes,” Professor Burke said.

“That congestion costs everyone trying to use those roads.”

He said that in the 1980s only 10-15 per cent of children attended private schools, but today the number was close to 35 per cent.

Traffic Jam Mudgirba
Morning school traffic is at a standstill in Mudgirba.,ABC Gold Coast: Sarah Cumming,

a call for more buses

Professor Burke said school buses and carpooling apps can improve traffic flow but that many private schools lack a sustainable transport vision.

“It’s really emphasizing how much of our travel is dependent on the car.”

A spokesperson for Independent Schools Queensland said private schools made their individual decisions about school buses and other transport options.

Burleigh School 2
Professor Burke said that the traffic congestion is increasing due to the school drop.,ABC Gold Coast: Sarah Cumming,

Tenants forced out of school catchment

City of Gold Coast councilor Hermann Vorster said record low rental vacancy rates are also forcing families to live outside their school.

“So where they could walk to school or cycle to school, these families can now live 30 or 40 kilometers away.

“It’s constantly getting worse and causing a lot of frustration.”

For Lease Sign Outside Gold Coast Unit Complex.
The low vacancy rate on the Gold Coast meant that students were going to school further.,ABC Gold Coast: Tom Forbes,

super-size school

Mr. Vorster said the rise of super-sized public schools is also driving an increasing number of students from his suburb.

He said that when schools grew larger than originally planned, it had consequences for the entire community.

“The effect I see is the failure of plan approval to meet its original intent,” Mr Vorster said.

He said it was difficult to recreate active transport corridors, drop off zones and public transport options.

“It’s very difficult to open that egg,” said Mr. Vorster.

A Tram Pulls To A Station At Night.
Professor Burke and Mr. Vorster both believed that public transport upgrades were important.,ABC News: Greg Nelson,

fewer students running

RACQ Traffic and Safety Engineering Manager Gregory Mizkowicz said the QLD Department of Transport and Main Roads often works with schools to help reduce and manage congestion and improve safety during busy times.

“Another option for parents is to drop the students off some other safe place near the school and let them walk the rest of the way, reducing traffic around the immediate school area,” he said.

Primary School Students
Professor Burke said the number of students going to school is declining.,AAP: Dan Peled,

Professor Burke said that across Australia, there are gradually fewer children walking or cycling to school and rates are falling “very low”.

“In many Danish schools almost 100 percent of children walk and cycle to school [but] Very few schools in Queensland are above 25 percent.”

“In the Gold Coast, we have a lot of schools where it’s less than 20 percent.”

Professor Burke and Mr. Vorster both believed that a substantial upgrade was needed in public transport.

“There’s a lot more we need to do over the next decade,” Professor Burke said.

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