Canterbury school pleads for zebra crossing

Each day the majority of West Rolleston Primary School pupils use a controlled crossing on Dunns...
Each day the majority of West Rolleston Primary School pupils use a controlled crossing on Dunns Crossing Rd. The school has asked the district council for a zebra crossing to be urgently installed. Photo: Supplied
All one Selwyn District primary school wants is a zebra crossing so its pupils can cross the road safely.

But getting the basic safety measure is proving a problem.

West Rolleston Primary School has pleaded with the district council for urgent road safety improvements to be made.

The school, on the corner of Dunns Crossing and Burnham School Rds, has almost 800 students, hosts a satellite campus for Waitaha Specialist School, and employs 70 staff.

Last week, school board presiding member Rob Hunt put his concerns to district councillors as part of a public forum.

“This is a now issue . . . I have to advocate for our children. They are my priority, the community’s priority,” he told councillors.

Rob Hunt.
Rob Hunt.
Hunt said the district council had carried out a community travel plan survey between May 8 and June 5 this year.

“The survey had a high response rate and highlights that 42 per cent of respondents that drove to and from our kura was a result of traffic safety issues or that they were worried about their personal safety,” Hunt said.

“That alarming number calls to me and says we have got to take action now.”

Hunt said last year a child had been hospitalised after being hit on Dunns Crossing Rd.

While the school understands the speed limit changes will take time, Hunt said one thing the district council could do would be installing a raised crossing on Dunns Crossing Rd.

“It would be our number one (priority) of many, but number one.”

The school is not alone in wanting a faster response from the district council. This month, the Selwyn Times reported Lincoln Primary School parents and school officials were also asking for lower speed limits around their school.

Like Lincoln Primary, the roads around West Rolleston Primary School are all 50km/h. However, unlike Lincoln, there are no zebra crossings. The school does run a kea crossing before and after school.

Hunt said they have also trialled walking school buses, but have had little success keeping them running.

“The feedback was that because the route wasn’t safe people didn’t feel comfortable leading a walking bus.”

Prior to the district council meeting, councillors had taken a bus tour around Rolleston to look at issues, including outside the school.

Rolleston Ward councillor Phil Dean was supportive of the school receiving a zebra crossing.

“Surely we can just do that. If he (Hunt) has identified that as a key thing that can start to create safety, maybe there is some smaller stuff like a raised crossing that we can consider.”

West Rolleston Primary School pupils crossing Dunns Crossing Rd. Photo: Supplied
West Rolleston Primary School pupils crossing Dunns Crossing Rd. Photo: Supplied
Rolleston Ward councillor Sophie McInnes backed up Dean’s comments.

“The 800 children that go there do live close by, they should be able to walk and cycle there.

“If the kids can’t walk and cycle they will all be driven which will generate even more traffic and even less safety.”

District council transport delivery manager Geoff Rhodes said there are improvements coming, but at this stage it will not be until the next period of Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency’s National Land Transport Programme. 

“Upgrades to Dunns Crossing Rd, including traffic lights at the Burnham School Rd intersection, are also planned in the next NLTP period 2024-2027.”

The district council will discuss the future of all of Selwyn’s speed limits, as well as traffic improvements for the school, in a closed-door workshop next month, with public consultation on its speed management plan expected in  October. 

Under the plan, the council is considering reducing the speed limit on a number of roads, including those close to schools.