False sense of security at crossing
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.