Central Coast Council

Safety concerns for new child care centre

Plans for a new 80 place child care centre at the intersection of the Central Coast Highway and Old Gosford Road have been submitted to the Central Coast Council.

Many in the community are concerned about the safety of children and feel that the location of the site so close to the intersection makes it unsuitable for a child care centre.

Child care centre location

Planning laws

As proposed, the development is not compliant with planning laws in respect to:

  • setbacks – only 1.8 metres from the northern boundary, 3.0 metres from the eastern boundary and 3.0 metres the southern boundary.
  • fence heights – at 2.1 metres high
  • open space  – 40% is required  but the development only has 20%.

Traffic on Old Gosford Road

386 residents live on Old Gosford Road and every household can report many incidents of excessive speed and other dangerous driving along Old Gosford Road. Concern is regularly raised for the safety of the 99 seniors and 106 pre-school and school aged children living along this local road from the dangerous driving practices of motorists and heavy vehicles using Old Gosford Road as a ‘rat run’.

The additional traffic movements from such a large centre will exacerbate the issues and increase the risk of an accident.

Access

Car and pedestrian access to the child care centre would be via a roller door on Old Gosford Road leading to an underground car park. There are ‘no drive through’ facilities for dropping off children.

Parking conflicts

Being adjacent to a complex of 10 villas and residential homes means that street parking is already heavy on this section of Old Gosford Road. The concentrated congestion at the single entry and exit point, combined with a shortage of street parking on this major bus route would generate significant potential for an accident.

Conflict and queuing at roundabout

There is potential to create dangerous traffic conflicts at the roundabout and on Old Gosford Road due to:

  • Bus stops immediately adjacent to and opposite the site.
  • The combination of school and commuter buses at the same time and location as the child care drop offs and pickups. This could create a potentially serious risk of harm.
  • With only one point of underground access available, it is possible that the queue of cars trying to get into the centre could extend the short distance to the roundabout in peak hours.
  • All these issues will be compounded during wet and inclement weather.

Did you know the roundabout at Old Gosford Road does not meet state and national standards? The Network and Corridor Planning Practice Notes (RTAIPub. 08.413) and the Austroads, Guide to Traffic Management (2007, p10) state that local roads (such as Old Gosford Road) “Should connect where practicable, only to sub-arterial roads.” That means “local roads” like Old Gosford Road should never have had a 4-way intersection with the Central Coast Highway!

Traffic safety not completed

Council has still not completed the safety measures at this spot on Old Gosford Road that were recommended back in 2011!

In recognition of the many safety issues at this intersection, the measures included creating a threshold treatment to slow the speed of cars, buses and trucks as they turn into Old Gosford Road from the Central Coast Highway as well as pedestrian refuges at the bus stops.

Roundabout threshold treatment

Figure 1: Uncompleted entry threshold treatment at the Central Coast Highway and Old Gosford Road intersection. This treatment was planned to address the many safety issues at this intersection from cars, buses and heavy trucks turning into Old Gosford Road.

Bus stop treatment and pedestrain refuge on Old Gosford Road

Figure 2: Uncompleted pedestrian refuge islands at each bus stop on Old Gosford Road. Old Gosford Road is a major bus route and pedestrian safety measures are critical. Adding a very large child care centre at the intersection will exacerbate existing risks.

Truck movements

The centre would generate increased daily heavy truck movements for commercial garbage removal, food and other service deliveries on Old Gosford Road.

Traffic increase

Traffic studies going back to 1990’s show Old Gosford Road already exceeds the traffic volumes for a ‘local road’ classification.

The proposal estimates that 40% of traffic to the new centre will come along Old Gosford Road.

A large 80 place child care centre at this location will unacceptably increase traffic on Old Gosford Road.

It risks undoing the many years of work that have gone into ensuring adequate safety measures are in place to reduce both the volume and speed of traffic on this road.

Hours of use

The proposal is for the centre to operate between 7.00am – 6.00pm, Monday to Friday but this could change in the future.

Safety barriers

Adequate provision for safety barriers along the frontage to the Central Coast Highway would be essential to reduce the risk of a catastrophic accident.

Topography

The child care centre would significantly increase traffic and pedestrian movements involving very young children.

But as many locals know, there are times in the afternoons when westbound traffic is blinded by the sun – particularly in winter. It is common for drivers to have to stop or severely limit their speed when going up the hill due to poor visibility.

The risk of a major incident at this location during a peak hour must not be underestimated.

Construction traffic

The excavation of the underground car park would generate a large number of heavy truck movements spilling onto a local road. This would increase the potential for traffic conflicts with buses and regular traffic.

Alternative uses

There are other sites that would be better suited to very large 80 place child care centre.

In addition, there are 12 child care centres in the immediate area with current vacancies.

Have your say

You can have your say by sending a letter to Council by 21 April 2017. Sharing your views, thoughts and concerns is very important on major issues like this. Your comments should express the things that are important to you.

What to say

Just express your comments in plain, everyday language. Simply:

  • Introduce yourself (you can include your experience and/or special qualifications) and acknowledge the opportunity to make a comment on the proposed development.
  • Outline your key concerns and focus your discussion on these.
  • It is not necessary to address every detail in the proposal. Simply choose the parts that are most relevant to you.
  • If possible, make recommendations using strong clear statements.
  • You can use your personal experiences as well as evidence, case studies and stories to support your arguments.
  • And always be polite and respectful.

Don’t be afraid to encourage your family, neighbours and friends to send in their comments. A large number of comments sends a strong message to decision makers and can be used to help raise the profile of your concerns.

You can copy any of the content on this web page to add to your comments.

Over the coming days, we will post some sample letters that you can copy and change to express your concerns and experiences.

Where to send your comments

Email

You can email your comments to ask@centralcoast.nsw.gov.au. Simply add “DA51671/2017 Child care centre Wamberal” in the subject line.

Online

Submissions to Council can also be made online but you need to scroll down the long list to find it:

DA51671

Post

You can also post a letter to:

Central Coast Council

49 Mann Street

GOSFORD 2250

Assistance

If you need any help, just contact us and we will get back to you.

What the child care centre would look like

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