School kids ‘have a right to get to school safely'

Pedestrians on SH76/Brougham St using a crossing near Addington School. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Pedestrians on SH76/Brougham St using a crossing near Addington School. Photo: Geoff Sloan
An increasingly frustrated school community wants officials to help get a school crossing that their children can have confidence in.

The Addington Te Kura Taumatua (School) board of trustees has highlighted the slow-moving process to improve the pedestrian crossing across State Highway 76.

The Brougham St crossing has for many months been derided as potentially dangerous.

The school community has repeatedly urged NZTA to set it right.

The board has briefed the Spreydon-Cashmere Community Board about an issue that highlighted the gulf between the community and officials.

People in the school community had approached school management many times over the past few years about the safety of the crossing of SH76 at Collins St.

“We suspect that our community has approached the school because they don’t know who better to engage with,” school board chair Jo Robertson advised.

“Local government struggles with low levels of community engagement.

“Residents don’t know what the council does, how it works, or how to engage with it; unsurprisingly, voter turnout is low.”

The city council previously referred all questions about the road to NZTA.

Community board chairwoman Karolin Potter said the board could do no more than the community, but it would ask the council to support it in asking NZTA to come up with a safe solution.

“It is not the kids of Addington’s fault that their community is cut in half by a state highway.

“They have every right to get to school safely, and they must be allowed to do so.”

In her briefing to the community board, Robertson said the city council installed the signal crossing in co-operation with NZTA.

The council had a responsibility to work with NZTA “on the interface between the state highway network and communities”.

Star News has asked NZTA for an update. It last year said a package of improvements was in development.

It anticipated that package would be implemented late this year, subject to funding.

In a backgrounder to the community board, Robertson detailed the results of a volunteer-led project to monitor crossing safety.

Data collected over 195 cycles of the traffic signals found only 101 of 195 drivers completely obeyed the law.

Some stopped their vehicles across the crossing and one went through the crossing on a red light.

Photographs taken over a space of 10min showed stopped trucks and buses jutting over the crossing, and cars leaving little room for children to cross.

The next community board meeting will be held at the school.