Public Eye (South Africa)

Parking chaos leads to frustratio­n at schools

- Chanel George

The prolific increase in parents, grandparen­ts and private school transport dropping off and picking up pupils at schools in the northern areas has led to utter chaos on the roads outside these institutio­ns.

Motorists going to work in the mornings are also caught up in the traffic and have added to the congestion experience­d by other road users.

The lack of adequate parking outside and within the school premises has further exacerbate­d the problem and parents simply stop in the middle of the road or double park which often leads to frayed tempers. The dysfunctio­nal traffic lights in the vicinity of the schools is a further obstacle to free-flowing traffic.

Two schools directly affected by the chaos are Deccan Road Primary School and Allandale Primary School. Drivers have to navigate down jammed two lane streets at a snails pace and often cause gridlocks at intersecti­ons and traffic lights.

Acting principal of Allandale Primary School, Sashen Dorasamy said he is aware that the parking at the school has been a problem.

“The school was built during the 1980’s and at that time it did not have as many pupils as it does today,” said Dorasamy.

He said the school has written to the Pietermari­tzburg Town Planning Department many times and have not received a response.

“These schools did not have the proper planning when they were built. They did not foresee an influx of pupils or vehicles in the neighbourh­ood like we have today,” said Dorasamy.

He said if the school had the funds and got approval from the municipali­ty they would ensure that adequate parking facilities would be constructe­d.

However, Zakyia Ali, a resident who lives across the road from Allandale Primary, said it is not as bad as people make it out to be.

“It's just a bit congested when children come out of school between 1.15pm and 2.30pm. After that the congestion clears quite quickly,” said Ali.

A member of the Deccan Road Primary School SGB, who did not want to be named, said that some parents are very aggressive and abusive and they need to recognise that their actions have a negative impact on the greater school community.

A grandparen­t, Thavaraj Naidoo, who picks up his grandson from Deccan Road Primary School in the afternoons, said he is fortunate that he is not caught up in the morning chaos.

“Fortunatel­y, I only fetch him in the afternoon. The morning school run is worse when my son drops off my grandson,” said Naidoo.

He said people have to double park because there is no solution in the rush hour.

“Most people do their school pick-up during work hours so everyone is rushing. Maybe it would be easier if someone could control the traffic, but even then it will still be congested,” said Naidoo

Jaanu Khan, a parent who picks up her child from the same school, said there has been no solution to this problem for the last 45 years.

“The morning is worse. It gets so heated, sometimes arguments break out over parking,” she said.

A dedicated school transporte­r who did not want to be named, said she has been operating for 25 years in and around the northern suburbs.

“I came here early and endured the heat from 12.20pm, while the school pupils will only come out at 1.15pm,” she said.

She added that she has to do this to ensure the safety of the pupils when entering and exiting the school.

“I transport pupils to Allandale Primary, Deccan Road Primary, Raisethorp­e Secondary and Heather Secondary,” she said.

Ashnee Chenchiah, chairperso­n of the Kharina Secondary School SGB said traffic in the morning and afternoon is a huge problem at the school, and having two entrances for easy access for pupils makes it double the trouble.

“Taxis and transport vehicles have no considerat­ion for the residents of the area or the pupils that use the road. They park where they want to, how they want to and don't care about the rules of the road,” said Chenchiah.

Municipal spokespers­on Ntobeko Mkhize did not respond at time of going to print.

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Parents and public transport vehicles who have no option but to double park on Deccan Road to pick up school pupils in the afternoon.
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