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Growing Local Schools Drive Residents up the Wall

By Nicola Smith on July 28, 2020 in News

The Fortress of Emanuel. Photo: Murid Malas

Frustrated residents are concerned that a new Development Application for Emanuel School will increase traffic and congestion problems in the local area.
Residents living in the small residential streets between Emanuel, Randwick Public School and St Margaret Mary’s Primary School have started a petition opposing the school’s latest DA due to an ongoing trend of residents being parked in or unable to leave their streets due to congestion around pick-up and drop-off times.
Residents fear that school renovations aimed at increasing the student population from 785 to 920 will exacerbate the problem.
Randwick local Emmanuela Mattana is one of many frustrated residents.
“There are confrontations between parents and residents all the time when they have to ask them to move their cars,” she told The Beast.
Extreme congestion caused during pick-up and drop-off times has become increasingly common in the local area, where schools have to try to fit large student populations on small parcels of land, as well as accommodating parents who want to drive their children to and from school.
The petition created by Randwick residents had 136 signatures at the time of printing, with an additional 63 signatures from a paper petition that Ms Mattana took door to door.
“If we don’t speak because we think [the DA] will get approved anyway, then we may as well give up,” Ms Mattana told The Beast.
The petition also opposes the development on the grounds that the scale and bulk of the building are too severe, will block out natural light and necessitate the removal of heritage-listed walls.
A spokesperson from Randwick Council said that Council aims to support both the residents and the school.
“We regularly survey local residents to establish the level of support for introduction or expansion of the resident parking scheme,” the spokesperson said.
“We also conduct regular parking enforcement at each school to address concerns of residents and behaviours associated with schools.”
Other schools in the area, such as Marcellin College in Randwick and Moriah War Memorial College in Queens Park, request that parents try to avoid driving their children to school to avoid issues of congestion.
Accommodating school students who need to travel to school, as well as the local residents, many of whom live in high-density around the schools and often rely on on-street parking, is an ongoing issue in the Eastern Suburbs that seems intractable.
Schools in very high-density areas, such as St Andrew’s Cathedral School in the city, encounter fewer transport issues than their suburban counterparts due to the high number of public transport options that their centrality provides.
However, only one bus route goes directly past Emanuel School on Avoca Street, with only one bus every twenty minutes.
While public transport may be the solution to the issue of congestion, no clear plans have been made at this stage, fuelling the parking anxiety of residents.
“It’s in your face, all the time,” Miss Mattana told The Beast, “literally every day.”
Emanuel School declined to comment for this article.