Timer, solar-powered signs for crossing
A dangerous school crossing is getting a makeover, to the relief of teachers, students, parents and police.
Rangitoto College photography teacher Clive Bartleet is retiring this year after 40 years in charge of the crossing.
Bartleet says he is thrilled to leave a legacy of a safer and more efficient crossing. "I had an active part in that. It's part of being an educator really. I'm an educator, not just a teacher."
He first got involved in 1974 when the crossing was controlled by year 9 students with lollipop signs.
The system worked well until traffic on East Coast Rd increased and parents starting withdrawing their children from crossing duty because they thought it was too dangerous.
Traffic lights were installed but once again the road got busier and red light running became a problem.
"Cars try to beat the orange even though it's obviously a school crossing," Bartleet says.
Two teachers are on duty from 8.20am to 8.45am and 3.10pm to 3.30pm each day.
On a bad day they used to count up to 14 cars running red lights while students were trying to cross.
Now, thanks to the new safety measures, they usually see none, or one at the most.
An Auckland Transport spokesman says concerns were raised by both police and the school about people failing to stop at red lights at the intersection.
"The frequent red light running by the motorists creates a danger for the school pupils and other pedestrians using this crossing.
"This is of particular concern during school start and finish times."
Bartleet says changes started happening within a week of a meeting between the school, police, the Ministry of Transport and Auckland Transport.
The crossing already has new phasing, warning signs and road markings. "It's looking a crossing that means business now," Bartleet says.
A countdown timer and solar-powered signs with flashing beacons warning drivers to stop on the red will be installed by the end of July.
North Shore Times