School pleads for action on speed

JESSICA SUTTON
Last updated 12:00 25/05/2012
Kairanga School pupils
DAVID UNWIN/Fairfax NZ

SLOW DOWN: Kairanga School is hoping Palmerston North City Council will keep its pupils safe by reducing the speed limit outside the school.

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A Manawatu principal hopes it won't take a pupil being killed on the road outside his school before authorities start listening to its pleas for a reduction in the speed limit.

Kairanga School has for the past six years been asking for the 100kmh speed limit outside the school to be reduced, but so far its pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

To push its case further, the school has made a submission to the Palmerston North City Council's 10- year plan to have the limit reduced, better lighting installed in the area, and more signs alerting motorist.

The community is in the Manawatu district, but will soon join Palmerston North city because of the boundary change.

Principal Alastair Schaw said it was only a matter of time before there was a fatal accident outside the school.

"It's come to a point now when we have to do something bigger," he said.

"We've put in extra off-street parking with our own money, but we need help now. I don't want there to be a death of a student or a fatal accident outside the school in order to get something done."

Mr Schaw said all its 180 pupils were picked up and dropped off by car because there was no school bus, which sometimes caused traffic chaos.

He said the school had had discussions with Manawatu District Council about the speed reduction in the past few years but because of the proposed Strategic Roading Network no decision had been made.

The network is part of a 20-year plan that could see Rongotea and Kairanga-Bunnythorpe roads become a main arterial route for heavy vehicles.

"We're really worried about what it will mean for our kids if this road becomes a heavy-traffic bypass like it's meant to," Mr Schaw said. "I'm hoping that they [the council] will come to the party."

The city council's senior transportation engineer, Glenn Connelly said the school's request would be investigated. He said there was a lot more work involved in increasing the safety around schools than just reducing the speed.

Mr Connelly said the proposed network would not have a bearing on whether a speed limit would or could be reduced, if the council thought it was vital.

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- Manawatu Standard

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