From the Principal

Pinch Points, Orbital Roads, Transitions and Traffic Jams

“Well I left my job about 5 o’clock, it took fifteen minutes go three blocks,
Just in time to stand in line with a freeway looking like a parking lot.
Damn this traffic jam, how I hate to be late, it hurts my motor to go so slow.
Damn this traffic jam, time I get home my supper’ll be cold, damn this traffic jam.”
Traffic Jam, James Taylor

Orbital Road
For those who have wondered what the school thinks and is doing about Port Macquarie Council’s planned Orbital Road Project, the School has:

  • Made a submission at the Council meeting
  • Engaged a town planner and advocate to work with us in setting up meetings, providing data and preparing a formal response to the proposed routes
  • Held a number of meetings with Councillors and Senior Council Staff to express our concerns
  • Made a formal submission to Council that includes an expression of our concerns in regard to the route, the processes being used by Council and offering alternatives

Have Your Say PMHC: The proposed Orbital Road consists of the collective East-West Link (Ocean Drive to Oxley Highway), the North-South Link (Oxley Highway to Boundary Street) and the flood-free Primary Airport Access Road. It is a new approach to improving the road network in and around Port Macquarie. It will improve connectivity to key destinations including the Health and Education Precinct, the Airport and the Regional Sports Stadium and alleviate traffic congestion. The most viable route has been identified from an engineering perspective, however as the project is in the very early stages of development, the approval process is yet to begin and the final route is yet to be determined. Comprehensive technical and environmental investigations will be required before the final route is confirmed. Council is committed to engaging with our community on this important project so we can make the best possible decisions based on the interests and concerns of our community. Over the past months we have invited feedback from the community via a range of methods including submissions, surveys, meetings and information sessions.

For those who may not have been following the debate, the two main “preferred” routes would have a damaging impact on the School campus, the potential safety of students from noise, particulate transmission/pollution to the CCELC etc, and result in the loss of facilities (e.g. the rear oval, the hardcourts, the School entrance etc).

We have “improved” the parent, student and visitor parking on the southern boundary of the campus. For those who have asked, Port Macquarie Hastings Council requires all cars using the Southern carpark to exit the campus via our main gates.

We had planned to further improve the parking by sealing  the whole Southern edge parking area towards the Googik Track this year, but we have paused that as it appears there may soon be a four lane arterial road there according to the above map.

A very sincere thank you to the parents and carers who have assisted us by respecting and following the changes we have made to the afternoon routine. We have noticed a significant improvement in afternoon traffic movement, with the campus traffic generally clearing much faster than before – then you get to the Hospital Roundabout and all bets are off!

As you may have read in a previous blog, we are still trying to get a more effective bus system that would lessen the number of private cars entering and leaving the Peninsula area during peak periods.

Big Events: Grandparents Day
No matter how much planning we put into some of our big events, there will always be traffic issues when up to six hundred extra guests arrive on campus. We will have changes in parking, staggered commencement times and traffic marshalls on site but we ask that each year you bear with us as this is one of the biggest days on campus in the school year.

Camp Week: Secondary School
6.00am Tuesday. SecondaryCamp Week: Dark. Wet. Seven buses, over three hundred students, sleeping bags, tents, more hiking clothes and backpacks than you can count, twenty plus staff, and hundreds of parents. Buses trying to navigate around parked cars, lanes blocked to safely load excited students …..and someone closed one of the school gates so cars could not get out!!!! Early Tuesday morning on Camp week sees one of our calendar’s biggest traffic pinch points. Early starts are unavoidable. The staggering of departures of the different camp groups is limited by travel time and distance to destinations. Result: Minor chaos from around 5.15am when we open the gates until around 7.00am when a strange quiet descends on the Secondary section of campus.

Every year we try to make it better and every year, come rain, darkness etc, we have late student arrivals compacting bus departure times, traffic jams and inevitable parking issues. But the outcomes are the same: several hundred very excited students off on educational adventures ranging from urban university experiences to bush treks, canoes and cycling.

Mr Terry Muldoon
Principal, St Columba Anglican School
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