By Stefanie Visser

KENTHURST / ANNANGROVE / DURAL

2021 – here it is! With all, it’s hopes and wishes, especially for this Covid virus to disappear. I hope everyone had a fantastic break, great Christmas and generally enjoyed driving around in our beautiful Hills Shire without being stuck in traffic.

This morning, Wednesday, 27/1 – a rude shock, long queues at the Mc Donald’s Roundabout towards schools in that particular area. My post in the community FB page attracted some slightly hostile comments. Some suggesting that; I’m part of the problem (I know), that everyone has the right to use the road (seriously?) and that my comment is naïve and simplistic, blaming two schools up the road. Well, well, well, clearly: school is back – traffic is crazy! Am I the only one who thinks this is no coincidence? I will leave this here. However, and more importantly, I have also received excellent, proactive suggestions via email and messenger. Some of the comments were very helpful in their recommendations, to make it easier for all of us.

In my last very extensive article, I wrote about all the wonderful things planned by the Council to improve the traffic and in summary – nothing will change short term. Parents are the ones who have to step up here to make a difference: Let your kids take the bus, the behaviour of parents who think it’s imperative to drive their kids from the front door to the schoolyard needs to change.

I am aware that bus services have been reduced because of the Metro, buses were going to the city and Macquarie Park from Glenhaven for example, but not anymore = more traffic.

Another great point was made: The Metro or trains are not safe without guards, and I think everyone has followed the issues around the Metro in Castle Hill during the holidays, where kids were robbed of their mobile phones, their shopping, etc. which is very concerning indeed.

This is a multi-faceted problem due to overdevelopment, decreased public transport services, lack of guards or police, lack of bike paths. MP Mr Andrew Constance for example thinks – and I have this in writing – that the majority of bus service route 641 run in morning and afternoon peak periods. There are four, none of which are in peak times.

One particular member of the community has pointed me in the direction of the “Behavioral Insights Unit ” by the NSW Government & Cabinet. In short: …” research into behavioural economics and psychology to influence choices and decision making”. In our case we want to increase the uptake of public transport options around schools. Waverly Council is doing a fabulous job in encouraging and supporting local schools to get students to walk and ride safely to school, enabling carpools as well as public transport.

This is an avenue I will explore over the next few weeks, and I will inform you about this in the March issue. We need lots of suggestions, feedback and ideas! Please contact me via email: [email protected]

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