'Children are crossing and I scream: Stop': Call to curb red light runners near school

Lee Jewel runs the gauntlet without hesitation, even if it means motorists clip the warning sign she holds to help St Albans School children get to class safely.

Jewel patrols the intersection of Westminster and Cranford St in Christchurch daily, a precarious position during morning rush hour on one of the city’s busiest roads.

"They’ve knocked my sign, that’s happened quite a few times. Drove into it . . . children are crossing and I scream: ‘Stop’. It keeps you on your toes," she said.

"Everybody’s in a hurry to get to work.

"They cut around (from Westminster to Cranford) when there’s kids walking across."

Lee Jewel at the intersection of Cranford and Westminster Sts. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Lee Jewel at the intersection of Cranford and Westminster Sts. Photo: Geoff Sloan
She said one boy on a scooter was struck recently while crossing the intersection. The driver did not stop but was traced by police.  

While police blitz the area from time to time, Jewel, who has served as a school patroller for 12 years, urged Christchurch City Council to put up a sign warning children are crossing, even though the junction has traffic lights.

"We’ve asked for it, but they won’t give it to us," she said.

City council transport operation manager Steffan Thomas said electronic active school signs had recently been installed on Cranford St, south of Berwick St, and north of Westminster St.

City council staff are also working with the school on a safe routes to school project.

Lee Jewel helps school children and parents across Cranford St safely. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Lee Jewel helps school children and parents across Cranford St safely. Photo: Geoff Sloan

“The students suggested we create driver awareness vinyl stickers to be placed on street light poles in this area.

"Once installed we will monitor the effectiveness of this student designed invention on their feeling of safety in this area,” Thomas said.

Papanui/Innes Community Board member Ali Jones said tighter police enforcement is needed along Cranford/Westminster Sts, plus Cranford/Innes Rd and Rutland St/Innes Rd, particularly since the opening of the Christchurch Northern Corridor.

“It was a problem before the changes to the road were implemented, but it’s become worse because of driver frustration and a lack of enforcement,” she said.

“I think you can’t go past having a physical police presence. I know everyone’s busy and resources are limited, but there’s clearly a need for greater enforcement.”

Red light runners at the intersection of Cranford St and Innes Rd. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Red light runners at the intersection of Cranford St and Innes Rd. Photo: Geoff Sloan

 

Lee Jewel helps school children and parents across Cranford St safely. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Lee Jewel helps school children and parents across Cranford St safely. Photo: Geoff Sloan

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