Wellington City Council spends $200,000 on getting kids to school safely

JASON DORDAY/Stuff.co.nz

Rugby World Cup star Jerome Kaino leads a walking bus to Meadowbank Primary School, Auckland.

Cars will be slowed down and more crossings created to help get more children walking to school along safe routes.

The Wellington City Council's Safe to Schools project works alongside its minor road safety improvements programme, but specifically targets getting kids get to school safely.

The $200,000 a year will be spent on installing electronic school zone signs outside all schools and changes to the roads, including creating new crossings, changing the layout of footpaths or creating new ones. 

Wellington city councillor Andy Foster says if roads are safer hopefully more kids will walk, bike or scooter to school.
CAMERON BURNELL/FAIRFAX NZ

Wellington city councillor Andy Foster says if roads are safer hopefully more kids will walk, bike or scooter to school.

Transport and urban development committee chairman Andy Foster said there had been a decrease in the numbers of kids walking to schools that had created a flow on effect in congestion at the school gate and a decrease in independence.

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"We have the view that we want to make life easier and safer for people to walk to and from any where, but especially to school," he said.

Wellington City Council is making road changes to help make routes to school safer.
DEAN KOZANIC

Wellington City Council is making road changes to help make routes to school safer.

"Keeping kids safe as they do that should be a core focus of council."

The project was on-going and would help decrease the number of projects on the council's minor safety improvements list, he said.

The council previously had a budget for new footpaths and other pedestrian improvements, but it was dropped when the ASB Sports Centre in Kilbirnie was built to save money.


The council is discussing with Kilbirnie School the creation of a crossing point on Hamilton Rd.
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The council approached Kilbirnie School about changes to Hamilton Rd. It had identified that the road at the back of the school was narrow and had no set crossing point.

It proposed installing a kea crossing point on the street - a pedestrian crossing that is only operational before and after school with road patrollers.

Principal Mike McGimpsey said the school had not decided whether it would take up the offer yet because it had only just finished surveying parents on the topic.

It asked parents if their children walked to school, used Hamilton Rd and whether they would be more likely to if there was a crossing. 

"We have known for many years that Hamilton Rd is a very narrow road and we need to look at what we can do about it," he said. 

"The board decided to have the discussion now because the council is saying it has the money. If we procrastinate the money would have been allocated elsewhere."

THE PROPOSED PROJECTS

The council is in discussion with schools about most projects and some require traffic resolutions to be consulted on and passed before they can be constructed.

* Electronic school zone signs: to be gradually installed outside all schools.

* Thames St, Island Bay: a raised zebra crossing and new drainage.

* Hataitai School: Revisit the built out footpath and kea crossing.

Onepu Rd and Wha St, Lyall Bay: Change the zebra crossing to pedestrian refuge island in the centre of the road.

* Melbourne St and Avon St, Island Bay: Cut back the bank and create a footpath.

* Hamilton Rd, Hataitai: Create a kea crossing outside Kilbirnie School.

* Wilton: Improve the crossing point on the Warwick St/Wilton Rd corner, create 10m of new footpath on Mairangi Rd near Warwick St.

* Weld St, Wadestown: Create a pick up/drop off zone.

* Hinau St, Tawa: construct a raised crossing point.

* Bassett Rd: Build out the kerb to slow traffic at the Basset Rd/Ohariu Rd corner.

 - Stuff

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