Residents concerned about pedestrian safety on Valley Street

School buses use Valley Street in Coffs Harbour as a waiting ground before heading up to St Augustine’s Primary School on Gordon Street.

HAVING lived in Valley Street, Coffs Harbour for 44 years, Derry McLean has questioned local government on numerous occasions over the state of roads and pathways near his home.

He has badgered the City of Coffs Harbour – formerly Coffs Harbour City Council – to install kerbs, gutters and pathways for pedestrian safety reasons.

The Rotary Club of Coffs HarbourAdvertise with News of The Area today.
It’s worth it for your business.
Message us.
Phone us – (02) 4981 8882.
Email us –

With its proximity to Gordon Street’s St Augustine’s Primary School, Valley Street receives high levels of motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic on weekday mornings and afternoons.

For years the residential road has been used as a thoroughfare for southbound cars and trucks, but nowadays it’s the parking and queuing of school buses that Derry is concerned about.

Approximately seven buses, with pupils aboard, routinely use the street as a waiting ground before driving up to park outside the school to safely drop students off.

This bus queuing is repeated in the afternoon at school collection time.

“At around 8.30am the buses queue up on Valley Street waiting for a spot outside the school, and then in the afternoons around 2.45pm they queue up ready to collect the kids for the home run,” Derry told News Of The Area.

“The road measures about 4.7 metres (m) wide and with no pathways there’s nowhere for people to hide from the traffic.

“If a car is parked on the side of the road, measuring say 1.84 m, and a bus comes along measuring around 4.39 m, there’s very little room between them,” he said.

Running along the eastbound side of Valley Street there’s an open drain.

“If you get caught in that you get bogged.”

A resident of the road for seven years, Andrew Harland shares Derry’s safety concerns.

“It’s the safety of the parents and kids that worries me,” Andrew said.

“The parents park here on Valley Street, go and collect their kids and then walk them back here; there’s a lot of weaving around parking and moving cars.”

Numerous older residents with mobility scooters or wheelie walkers also navigate the road.

Derry and a few other neighbours have installed white indicator posts at the end of their lawns to warn vehicles, including mobility scooters, to avoid the drainage ditch.

Over the years Derry has welcomed various council staff, as well as Mayor Paul Amos and Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh to inspect Valley Street.

He said all have agreed an upgrade of the road is needed, with kerbs, gutters and footpaths needing to be installed.

Derry said responses from Council indicated no work was planned for the near future.

One letter, dated July 2020, from Council’s Transport Asset Strategist stated, “At present the road condition is rated 2/5 – good.

“This was assessed by an independent pavement expert in 2020 whilst undertaking a full network assessment.

“Therefore, whilst your request has merit, we cannot consider upgrades at this point in time.

“It will be listed for consideration of future funding opportunities in the future,” the letter stated.

The rating 2/5 – good indicates: minor maintenance required plus planned maintenance.

Now almost four years on from that letter, Derry hopes the time has come for upgrades, especially considering the increased use of the road around school times.

A St Augustine’s Primary School pupil from 1955-1965, Derry now volunteers in the school’s canteen along with his wife, Wendy, who was a member of staff for 22 years.

With the growth of the school, Derry’s concerns are for the current pupils.

“I’m not whingeing about the use of the road, it’s the safety of the people who use the road I am fighting to get the pathways for,” he said.

Wendy McLean has had concerns about the open drains along the road for more than four decades.

“Forty years ago, we wouldn’t let the children play out the front for the health risks, because their ball might go in the stagnant drain water,” she said.

Peter Horan, now in his 80s, has lived in the same house on Valley Street for 66 years and has watched the goings-on for many of those years from his balcony deck overlooking the road.

“Course it is,” Peter told NOTA when asked if he thought the road was dangerous.

“Forty children on each school bus and now we have seven buses most days, that’s more than we’ve ever had,” he said.

A City of Coffs Harbour spokesperson told NOTA, “City of Coffs Harbour is committed to providing the best possible value from activities related to infrastructure assets and continually improving its asset management practices.

“An Asset Management Policy guides the City to make informed decisions and provide for community needs.

“This policy applies to all infrastructure related service provision, including transport, drainage, buildings and facilities, open space, sewerage, water supply, waste management services and fibre network.

“The City takes a systematic approach to managing its infrastructure assets based on good industry practice, and legislative requirements for integrated planning and reporting.”


Leave a Reply