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Regional

Why speed humps and roadside barriers are a godsend to West Auckland school students

Every school day between 3pm and 3.30pm, more than 2300 students leave one of the six schools within an 800m radius in Kelston.

The traffic for St Leonards Road School, Kelston Primary, Kelston Intermediate, Kelston Boys’, Kelston Girls’ and Kelston Deaf Education Centre, is bumper-to-bumper from 2.30pm-4pm as parents scramble for parking to pick up their children and students start to make their way home.

Add three childcare centres and the potential for accidents is quite extreme.

Fortunately, Kelston is a suburb where units and homes can only go up two storeys, and most residents living in the quiet suburb still have the Kiwi quarter-acre dream.

The majority of students are Māori, Pasifika and Asian.

So how do you keep traffic flowing and retain children’s safety.

Auckland Transport - which is often at the opposite end of pats on the backs - has this time come up trumps for the West Auckland suburb.

In a video, posted to its website, AT outlines the issues uniquely faced by Kelston.

“We’ve worked with the schools in the area. There are six schools and 800m and the schools told us that it’s really busy before and after school. So we’ve worked with them to slow the traffic,” says Allyn Syms, AT’s Streets for People programme director.

“The cars move pretty fast through this area and there are 2300 kids coming out at three o’clock.

“So we’re just basically making it safe for them to be in this area.

“We’ve received a lot of feedback from the schools and from parents that there are regular near misses.

“And unfortunately, some students have been hit crossing the road in the past.”

AT has used low-cost temporary installations like planter boxes, concrete bollards and hips to give the students more space so that they can see up and down the street and people who are driving can see them. There are also several speed humps in the 1km school zone to help slow the flow of traffic.

Kelston Intermediate principal Burt Iosia said the project has been a great community-AT collaboration.

He said the student body formed a discussion group to look at the traffic and speed issues after one student was hit by a vehicle.

Students wrote a blueprint, which is now the safety guidelines for the schools in the area.

He said people driving in that Kelston 1km zone need to be mindful that children could just dart across the road from anywhere.

- NZ Herald