Crossing signals to cut highway risk

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Mackenzie Cole, left, aged 12, of Woodend, with Ashley Kerr, aged 11, of Woodend, and Woodend School teacher Darryl Shekleton, of Rangiora, at the end of their afternoon road crossing patrol last Friday. Photos: Shelley Topp
Mackenzie Cole, left, aged 12, of Woodend, with Ashley Kerr, aged 11, of Woodend, and Woodend School teacher Darryl Shekleton, of Rangiora, at the end of their afternoon road crossing patrol last Friday. Photos: Shelley Topp
The decision to install traffic signals on the road crossing outside Woodend School will improve safety, the school’s road patrol students say.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) will install lights on the crossing later this year.

The move comes after lobbying from Woodend’s community for a road bypass through the town and safety improvements for pupils and other people when crossing the busy section of State Highway 1.

‘‘Installing the traffic lights is a really good idea,’’ the students say.

‘‘It will give protection for people all the time, not just school times. There is not much happening about the bypass so it will be good to have something for safety,’’ they say.

Woodend School road patrol student Ashley Kerr, aged 11, controls traffic at the school’s busy...
Woodend School road patrol student Ashley Kerr, aged 11, controls traffic at the school’s busy road crossing last Friday afternoon.
‘‘The red lights will make the cars stop. They won’t be able to ignore it.’’

The children also believe that the traffic lights will be much better in wet weather, because the motorists will see the lights further out.

A signpost on a fence near the Woodend School road crossing.
A signpost on a fence near the Woodend School road crossing.
School principal Adrienne Simpson is also pleased with the decision.

‘‘Everyone will be able to use the crossing independently,’’ Adrienne says.

‘‘However, we will still be out on patrol before and after school. The job may just look a little different.

‘‘We will work with the police education officer about how best to monitor the patrol once the lights are installed,’’ she says.

‘‘As a school, we have obviously advocated for the signalised crossing to be fast-tracked when discussing the proposed safety improvements, as this would make a significant difference to the safety of our students coming to and from school each day.

‘‘With the huge increase in traffic flow through Woodend over recent times, this decision will benefit not only the school families but the whole community.

‘‘It will be a great assistance in the short term, but ultimately longer-term safety measures, as well as the bypass, are also needed for Woodend.’’

Waimakariri District Council Mayor Dan Gordon says the signals are a great start in making Woodend, Ravenswood and Pegasus communities safer.

 

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