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Dangerous parking puts young students at risk2 min read

Sep 12, 2023 2 min

Dangerous parking puts young students at risk2 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Community Constable Don Allan reminds drivers about safe behaviour outside Onehunga Primary School

Parking congestion outside Onehunga Primary School is a constant concern for the principal as she sees cars stopped on yellow lines and double parked every day, and says students are being put in danger for the sake of a quicker pick up.

“Convenience cannot outweigh children’s safety. It’s just too high a risk,” says Viki Holley.

The dangerous parking occurs at both ends of the day, but is particularly bad at 3pm when all the students leave at the same time, and it’s usually the same cars that double park.

“Our road patrol students are trained to use road markers to judge when to stop traffic, and these markers can be obscured if cars are double parked,” she says.

The local community constable, Don Allan, was at the school one afternoon recently, and reminded drivers about the rules for a safe pick up. The police and Auckland Transport also conduct regular checks at the school to encourage safe driving.

Viki says the best and safest advice for families who drive to school, is to allow a few extra minutes so they can park safely nearby, and walk the short distance to safely pick up or drop off their child.

Principal of nearby St Joseph’s School on busy Church Street, Carolyn Massey, has drivers park on yellow lines, double park, or doing u-turns after drop off. “The line markings of the crossing are also very faded and council have not responded to requests to redo them” she says. “We have introduced a walking school bus in the afternoon where two teachers walk students across to the carpark to be picked up safely. This means we are not stopping traffic so often to cross the road and it seems to keep the traffic flowing.”

Royal Oak Intermediate principal Tony Coughlan, sees “double parking, parking on grass verges and yellow lines” and is also concerned at the speed at which some drivers travel past the school, despite the 30km speed limit.

“Another hazard is cars pulling into driveways to perform three-point turns, putting students at risk as they use the footpath.”

They have supervised road patrols on Symonds and Trafalgar Streets, and actively promote active transport methods like walking and cycling.

It is a similar story at Waterlea School in Māngere Bridge, especially on rainy days, says deputy principal Andy Jones. They also encourage walking, cycling and scootering to school, or if driving, to park a bit further away and walk.

“We do our best to remind and encourage our families to drive and park safely.”