Principal’s push for better road safety measures outside school pays off

Avonhead School principal Micah Hocquard took his concerns about road safety to the Fendalton...
Avonhead School principal Micah Hocquard took his concerns about road safety to the Fendalton-Waimari-Harewood Community Board. Photo: Geoff Sloan
A push to improve the safety of a busy school route is set to pay off for a Christchurch principal and his pupils.

The Fendalton-Waimairi-Harewood Community Board has approved changes outside Avonhead School after principal Micah Hocquard raised his concerns about safety on the school run.

A 48m stretch of Avonhead Rd will be restricted to 3min parking during peak school traffic hours from 8.30-9.30am and 2.30-3.30pm.

The school bus parking will be moved to make room for the parking area, and another 26m section of the road will be reserved for the exclusive use of school buses during the same hours.

Hocquard said safety at the school gate was the main reason for the changes.

"Avonhead Rd is busy and, during drop-off and pick-up, we have a number of whānau using our entrances on Avonhead Rd," Hocquard said.

A traffic engineer’s report said about 9800 vehicles drive by the school on Avonhead Rd each day.

Traffic on Avonhead Rd outside Avonhead School. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Traffic on Avonhead Rd outside Avonhead School. Photo: Geoff Sloan
During the morning peak period this was up to 1010 cars an hour, although the afternoon school traffic period averaged fewer vehicles at about 830 an hour.

The report also noted three reported crashes at the location over the last five years, although these did not reveal any direct connection with school-related traffic.

However, the report favoured making the changes, saying they would reduce congestion and better accommodate the demand for pick up and drop off parking on Avonhead Rd at the school front.

Hocquard said the school community was consulted about the situation last term, and the general feedback was in favour of changes being made.

Further changes could be made in the future.

"We have formed a working group that comprises of staff, students and parents, who will be assisting the Christchurch City Council to develop a school travel plan as well,” he said.

The restrictions will take effect once parking signage and road markings are in place.

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