Pallara State School Grapples with Traffic Chaos as Enrolment Surges

Pallara State School
Photo credit: Google Street View

A video showing a line of over 80 cars outside Pallara State School has caught the attention of many online. Parents have shared concerns about the traffic congestion they face twice a day, and there’s acknowledgment that improvements are needed.

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With a projected increase of 450 students by 2027, the school is bracing for more congestion. Plans are underway for 20 new classrooms, but in the interim, many students continue their education in temporary buildings.

Despite being a top priority for infrastructure upgrades, the school’s expansion has not reportedly kept pace with enrollment growth. Last year, the announcement of “temporary hire spaces” aimed to alleviate overcrowding, but the problem persists.

One parent’s dashcam footage, shared on social media, encapsulates the daily ordeal.

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Video credit: Ben Kaw- Pallara Community/Facebook

Blame games ensue, with the council pointing fingers at the State Government for the gridlock. The sheer magnitude of the traffic snarls, often exceeding 100 cars and stretching over 700 metres along Ritchie Rd, paints a vivid picture of the chaos.

A representative from the Department of Transport and Main Roads clarified that none of the roads adjacent to the school fell under state jurisdiction.

Similarly, a spokesperson from the Department of Education emphasised that, in this particular situation, the local council was accountable for the management of public roads.

Photo credit: Google Street View

Regarding this matter, Council Infrastructure Chair Cr Andrew Wines mentioned that they have been collaborating with the school to enhance traffic flow and promote responsible driver behaviour during school drop-off and pick-up times.

Despite previous discussions by the Council to widen Ritchie Rd into a dual carriageway and revamp parking arrangements, the road remains limited to two lanes. Furthermore, footpaths are absent along most of its stretch, and deep swales flank either side of the road.

He expressed concerns about the lack of investment from the State Government in the local road and transport network, stating that Pallara is a growing suburb, and despite the construction of a new school, he said there has been a failure to provide adequate support for families in reaching it.

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In the face of mounting frustration, the community remains hopeful for meaningful solutions that prioritise the safety and well-being of all road users, particularly during peak school hours.

Published 7-May-2024