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Waverley to Trial Road Closures to Allow Safe Street Play

By Siriol Dafydd on March 25, 2020 in News

Mayor Paula Masselos and Cox Avenue resident Alex Unsworth. Photo: Waverley Council

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could let your children play in the street with their friends and neighbours without having to worry about them being run over by cars? Well, Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos agrees with you. She believes that opportunities to play are vital to children’s development and wellbeing and has therefore spearheaded a campaign to encourage and enable children and parents to play safely in our local streets.
Waverley Council’s new street play initiative will close participating streets to traffic on Sunday afternoons in order to allow children and families to play and socialise safely. Council’s original plan was to trial the initiative in just four streets but the project is likely to expand to other streets due to growing community interest. As The Beast went to press, the streets officially participating in the trial were St James Road in Bondi Junction, Millers Street in Waverley, Cox Avenue in Bondi and Busby Parade in Bronte.
The idea behind this new initiative is to help keep children active and bring communities together.
“Growing up, I remember how fun it was hanging out with the neighbours’ kids, playing ball games in the street and having a lot of fun,” Mayor Masselos told The Beast.
“With more and more kids growing up in apartments and houses being built on smaller blocks of land where there’s no yard, I think the capacity to be able to play on the street is a really important option and opportunity for kids and families. It’ll help kids get off their electronic devices and get neighbours talking to each other and friendships become formed that way.”
Council believes that many streets around Waverley could be suitable for this kind of project as they don’t see much traffic on Sunday afternoons anyway. Of course, not all streets will be able to accommodate street play and their eligibility will ultimately be determined by Council’s team of engineers who will take a number of different factors, such as the impact on overall traffic flow, into account.
All residents actively taking part in the trial will be trained in the necessary traffic management techniques and taught how to close off a street effectively. Throughout the trial, all street closures will be classed as ‘events’ and the insurance fee will be covered by Council. This insurance will remain in place until at least the end of the financial year but could of course be extended should the trial be a success.
This is a wonderful idea in theory and hopefully the trial will be an enormous triumph. Of course, whether or not it succeeds is inevitably down to us. Much like the dockless bikes saga, this type of initiative only works if people are respectful and sensible about it. After all, it only takes one or two idiots to ruin this kind of thing for everyone. Hopefully, however, our sense of community and team spirit will prevail and local families and visitors alike will be able to safely enjoy some quality time with their neighbours in the streets for years to come.
For more information about the street play trial, please visit waverley.nsw.gov.au. If you have any questions about how this initiative will impact your local area, or if you wish to register your interest to become a part of the street play trial, email calum.hutcheson@waverley.nsw.gov.au.

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