Naughty parking upsets principals

'It's almost got to the point of being intimidating'

LIBBY WILSON
Last updated 05:00 30/07/2014
Pat Poland
Chris Hillock/Fairfax NZ
PARKING PROBLEMS: Policing school pick-up parking is a regular job for Deanwell School principal Pat Poland.

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Scoring a park right in front of school might be a parent's or caregiver's school-run dream, but those who are flouting laws to do it have got principals concerned.

And Hamilton City Council parking wardens are appearing at primary schools in a bid to educate wayward parkers.

Caregivers who ignored double yellow lines or pulled up on the grass verges outside Woodstock School were the main concerns for principal Steve Ostermann, especially on wet days. Some rule-breakers had abused staff - or other parents - who asked them to move.

"It's almost got to the point sometimes of being very intimidating and threatening, situations even between parents themselves."

Last year Ostermann put examples of poor parking in the school newsletter in the hope of improving behaviour.

Woodstock is one of many primary schools that parking wardens visit at peak times, to educate parents and eventually enforce parking rules.

"People like Sarah [Roberts from HCC] and the parking wardens coming out to help us helps immensely at the times that they're doing it and immediately afterwards," Ostermann said.

"But then over time, again, things revert back to how they were."

That's a familiar problem for Deanwell School principal Pat Poland, who has also had the wardens' help.

"I'll tell parents 'Look you can't park in the carpark'. . . and they'll say 'Oh, I'm sorry about that sir'.

And then I see them a month later doing the same thing," he said.

"At three o'clock I'm generally out the front of the school, walking up and down, saying hello to parents, but knocking on windows and saying 'Look, do you realise such-and-such?"'

He estimated half the Deanwell students were picked up by car, and the other half walked, cycled or scooted.

But to help with traffic, parents in cars could arrive slightly later, for example 3.10pm, or get children to walk to a nearby pick-up point, he said.

When it came to badly-parked parents, he thought the city council's wardens were wonderful - friendly but forceful.

And he wished they could be at his school more often, perhaps once a week.

Parking on yellow lines, double parking, and stopping to call children over to the car were among the main concerns from schools, council operations team leader Robyn Denton said.

Parking slightly further away, getting involved in walking school buses or sharing pick-up with other parents were all options to consider, she said.

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"An extra five or ten minutes is worth it for less stress, less frustration and more safety." Last term, wardens visited 19 schools.

Denton said people had generally been parking well and were receptive.

The first step was education and re-education of parents and caregivers.

"Enforcement is reserved for serious safety breaches or people who don't take note of initial conversations."

The programme has been running since 2012.

- Waikato Times

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