RMS considers solutions for James Sheahan Catholic High School

NO CROSSING: A James Sheahan Catholic High School student crosses the road between a car and a bus on Tuesday. Photo: ANDREW MURRAY
NO CROSSING: A James Sheahan Catholic High School student crosses the road between a car and a bus on Tuesday. Photo: ANDREW MURRAY

IT is widely known as a place to avoid in peak school times, but Orange City Council and James Sheahan High School hope a solution for the school’s Anson Street frontage is just over the horizon. 

Struggling to accommodate buses, students in cars and pedestrians safely, business manager Andrew Kent said problems had been present for more than a decade. 

“The P&C believes there should be a safe way to get kids across Anson Street,” he said.

There is currently no crossing for the school.

However, City of Orange Traffic Committee chairman and councillor Russell Turner said the committee had met with the P&C and NSW Roads and Maritime Services had agreed to work on solutions.

“It’s a difficult one given there’s buses coming in and out of the bus bays and it’s a narrow street,” he said.

“We put a pedestrian crossing in at Orange High School but students still didn’t use it until we put the safety barrier in the middle of the road.”

Mr Kent said the possibilities were vast, including pedestrian blisters like those on the Kite Street side of Cook Park, which shorten the distance those crossing the road have to travel. 

“There’s a possibility of lights like Anson Street School has,” he said.

“We’re looking at changing the way the buses and parking zones work, it’s all up in the air, but the message is we are moving forward.”

He said difficulties in addressing the problem during the past decade were due to challenges in marrying solutions with pedestrian and traffic needs and it could be a number of months before investigations and designs were complete. 

The school requested a pedestrian crossing in 2007, but NSW Roads and Maritime Services said at the time pedestrian and motorist counts were too low.

Instead, a no-parking zone on the western side of Anson Street was trialled to limit the number of students needing to cross the road. 

In 2009, draft designs were drawn up and approved to install a merging lane and change the entry into the school but the school did not have the funds to complete the work.

Traffic lights were last considered in 2012, but the RMS dismissed the idea as unlikely at the time because 24-hour no stopping zones would need to be installed on both sides of the street and significantly cut available parking.