False sense of se­cu­rity at cross­ing

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

A pedes­trian cross­ing fought for by the Whitby com­mu­nity may be putting chil­dren at even greater risk.

The cross­ing in Omapere St was built in Fe­bru­ary af­ter a se­ries of near- misses be­tween cars and pupils of nearby Post­gate School. School par­ents and Porirua City coun­cil­lor Anita Baker lob­bied the coun­cil to get the cross­ing built.

How­ever, chil­dren as young as 5 are now zoom­ing straight across the ze­bra cross­ing on scoot­ers from a side path, with­out stop­ping to look for cars.

The path runs down­hill from Tran­som Cl to Omapere St, and is hid­den be­hind houses and bushes. Driv­ers didn’t see chil­dren com­ing un­til they reached the foot­path, res­i­dent Kate Clark said.

‘‘They’re get­ting speed up and com­ing down. I’m con­cerned it’s only a mat­ter of time un­til some­body doesn’t get their brakes on fast enough,’’ Ms Clark said.

‘‘They think, ‘ Oh, it’s a pedes­trian cross­ing. Peo­ple stop’. But they haven’t got time to.’’

Porirua City Coun­cil’s road safety co-or­di­na­tor Mark Kairua said he had not heard of the prob- lem, but would visit Post­gate School to ed­u­cate the pupils.

Driv­ers also needed re­mind­ing, per­haps in the form of a sign, to take spe­cial care at the cross­ing, Mr Kairua said.

Good driv­ers would an­tic­i­pate chil­dren rush­ing out at cross­ings, he said.

‘‘To be a proac­tive driver you need to see all th­ese warn­ings and ex­pect th­ese things to hap­pen.’’

Mr Kairua de­fended the cross­ing lo­ca­tion, say­ing drive­ways and a bus stop meant it had to be placed right in front of the path.

Post­gate School prin­ci­pal Adam Camp­bell said it was un­likely many of his pupils were at risk, be­cause few use the Tran­som Cl path and the Omapere cross­ing was pa­trolled af­ter school.

Pupils were taught to stop and look be­fore us­ing pedes­trian cross­ings, but driv­ers needed to be more care­ful too, Mr Camp­bell said.

‘‘Cars need to be more aware that there is a cross­ing there.’’

The speed limit was 30kmh around the cross­ing, but cars of­ten sped down the hill from War­spite Ave or around the cor­ner from Post­gate Dr, Mr Camp­bell said.

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