Park­ing headache for ad­ja­cent schools

Central Leader - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

A clus­ter of schools and com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tives are work­ing to­gether to find an an­swer to a frus­trat­ing park­ing prob­lem.

Mt Roskill Pri­mary School, Mt Roskill In­ter­me­di­ate School, and Mt Roskill Gram­mar School all di­rectly neigh­bour each other, putting park­ing in sur­round­ing streets at a pre­mium.

A su­per­mar­ket car park on Frost Rd across from the pri­mary school has be­come a pop­u­lar spot for par­ents col­lect­ing or drop­ping off their chil­dren.

But in re­sponse to mums and dads us­ing the area for pick-ups and drop-offs the land owner has hired an en­force­ment com­pany to fine or wheel clamp non-shop­pers.

Mt Roskill MP Phil Goff has called the move a ‘‘money-mak­ing racket’’ cit­ing ex­am­ples where par­ents have been fined $100, or clamped and charged $200, for park­ing for less than two min­utes.

Some par­ents have re­ceived bills of up to $500 once ad­min­is­tra­tion fees were added for the fine not be­ing paid on time.

Many of the par­ents have English as a sec­ond lan­guage and don’t re­alise they are do­ing any­thing wrong, he says.

‘‘I un­der­stand the con­cern of retailers who want the car park avail­able for their cus­tomers. But this is not the an­swer.’’

Mr Goff has met with the schools’ prin­ci­pals, car park owner David Hay, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Auck­land Trans­port and the Puke­ta­papa Lo­cal Board to dis­cuss the traf­fic is­sues that are the re­sult of up to 6000 stu­dents, staff and par­ents leav­ing the schools each day.

‘‘That’s the size of Mor­rinsville. If you had to evac­u­ate Mor­rinsville on a daily ba­sis you would have some prob­lems,’’ Mt Roskill In­ter­me­di­ate School prin­ci­pal Mike O’Reilly says.

He says the sto­ries of wheel clamp­ing and fines have brought to light the un­der­ly­ing traf­fic is­sue for the schools.

Sug­gested so­lu­tions in­clude hav­ing ‘‘drop-off and kiss’’ short-term park­ing zones out­side the schools; en­cour­ag­ing more chil­dren to walk to school; ask­ing par­ents who drive their chil­dren to park fur­ther away and walk them to the gate; trans­lat­ing school travel plans into other lan­guages to reach all par­ents; and hav­ing the clamp­ing com­pany in­clude in­for­ma­tion about drop-off zones with its en­force­ment no­tices.

‘‘It’s not some­thing you’re go­ing to solve overnight, a whole lot of things have got to hap­pen,’’ Mr O’Reilly says.

Photo: EMMA WHIT­TAKER

Traf­fic trou­bles: MP Phil Goff, Puke­ta­papa Lo­cal Board chair­man Richard Barter, Mt Roskill In­ter­me­di­ate School prin­ci­pal Mike O’Reilly, and Mt Roskill Pri­mary School deputy prin­ci­pal Janet Moyle are work­ing to re­lieve park­ing is­sues around the schools.

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