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Crossing called for at school

TAO LIN
Last updated 05:00 07/03/2014
Crossing MKC
SAFETY CONCERNS: Grandfather George Howard, left, is advocating for road crossings to be installed around Reremoana School before a child gets hurt. Pictured with him from left are his daughter Ruth Howard and grandchildren Dorsey Howard, 6, Mariya Howard, 6, Horatio Howard, 7, Tyson Howard, 8, and Pharrell Howard, 8.

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A grandfather fears the lack of safe road crossings outside a local school could be putting young lives at risk.

George Howard says Wattle Downs has grown substantially since he moved there in 2006.

Traffic around nearby Reremoana School, where his five grandchildren go to school, has increased to the point where roads are getting congested during peak school hours.

Mr Howard regularly walks his grandchildren to and from school along Turnberry Drive behind the school and says he's noticed a worrying trend.

Children instinctively start to cross the road when a car on one side stops to let them pass but cars in the opposite lane sometimes don't see them and don't stop.

"It's an accident waiting to happen," he says.

"Who wants that? I don't wish it upon anyone for their kid to get injured."

Mr Howard contacted Auckland Transport about installing a kea crossing, which are operated by school patrols with Stop signs, on Turnberry Drive.

He was told the volume of traffic on the street was not great enough to install a crossing and it was not a transport priority.

The school's board of trustees says there have been concerns about increasing traffic around the school for the past nine years but it is not aware of any children getting hurt on the roads.

Judder bars have been installed on the school's drop-off zone to discourage speeding, and staff are proactive in monitoring traffic, the board says.

The school has also operated a walking school bus, which travels along Turnberry Drive, since 2007.

The board says Auckland Transport contacted the school in January asking if staff would operate and monitor a kea crossing if one was made, to which the school responded that it would.

An Auckland Transport spokesman says there are already kerb extensions on Turnberry Drive to help pedestrians crossing the road but traffic volumes and speeds during school peak periods are not high enough to warrant a crossing.

"If Reremoana School approached us with a desire to operate a kea crossing on Turnberry Drive, then we would look at it again," he says.

The spokesman says Auckland Transport is already working with the school in several ways, including having it involved with school travel plans and conducting an annual survey to determine students' travel habits.

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- Manukau Courier

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