Published on: 24 April 2024

As we’re all aware, traffic congestion in and around Claremont presents challenges for our community, with a particular bottleneck around Stirling Highway and Queenslea Drive. The School has designated CCGS/MLC buses to multiple suburbs, a lollipop man on Queenslea drive for safe crossing, and we constantly seek parents’ support in dropping their sons nearby, encouraging them to walk, cycle, catch public transport to the nearby Claremont train station, or ‘walk a little way’.

We appreciate the members of our community who recognise that addressing this issue is a shared effort which requires the contribution of parents, students, and wider community members in order to find practical solutions. A group in the Preparatory School’s walking school bus presents a practical solution to local traffic congestion while offering fresh air, exercise and socialisation for students. Pictured are the group of boys enjoying their walk to school. Not to be forgotten is Kitty the dog, who also loves getting out in the morning sun!

Christ Church parent Sanj Ratneser who has been walking with the group to school, including his three sons, commented on the experience to date.

“We’ve been doing an informal walking school bus from Claremont for the past couple of years. It’s great from a safety point of view, the kids get to burn off a bit of energy before school and they catch up on each other’s news. My youngest son Lucky (Year 1) picks flowers for his teacher along the walk! They love the independence of it all and the adventures through Claremont Park. I’m so happy that we don’t have to get stuck the the 8.00am traffic jam. It doesn’t involve any more than a conversation with your community and a little commitment”, Mr Ratneser said. His other sons also shared their thoughts, with Teddy (Year 5) saying that he “likes being in nature and the fresh air” and Milo (Year 4) adding that he likes “that we’re not stuck in the car.”

A number of schools across Perth, including Lathlain Primary, Victoria Park Primary, City Beach Primary, and North Cottesloe Primary, have established a ‘walking bus’ or ‘bike bus’, which have grown in popularity, with well-organised routes and maps available for parents. A 2021 paper by the Department of Transport highlighted the declining rate of walking and cycling to school in Perth, noting that the rate (in 2021) was as low as 20 per cent and one half of children travel to school by car despite living less than one kilometre away. The paper mentions that a strong latent demand for active travel exists within Perth’s student population, with over 50 per cent of students saying they would prefer to regularly walk and bike ride to school and only 10 per cent would prefer to be driven.

The Department of Transport concludes by stating that ‘this decline in active travel to school is an urgent problem that has immediate and long-term negative impacts on some of the most vulnerable members of the community: school children.’ Christ Church strongly encourages our families to follow this fantastic Preparatory family’s example by starting or joining a walking school bus initiative, or focusing on safe alternatives to travel to and from school.