Speeding cars cause of concern for school

CONCERN: Pupil safety is of concern at Harewood School with some cars not stopping at the school's crossing. PHOTO: GEOFF SLOAN

Drivers hitting the accelerator past Harewood School are causing concern for the safety of pupils.

Principal Julie Greenwood is pleading for drivers to slow down as they pass the school, saying many seem to have a case of “lead foot.”

When coming off Johns Rd on to Harewood Rd, some drivers don’t seem not to notice the 40km/h speed limit sign, Mrs Greenwood said.

“We’ve had a couple vehicles go through the crossing patrol when the signs were out.”

She said police had used a speed gun to catch drivers and took the issue to the Fendalton-Waimairi-Harewood Community Board.

The school has since been liaising with board member Aaron Campbell.

Mr Campbell said he and the school have been trying to get the speed limit outside the school permanently reduced during off-peak hours.

He said that is unlikely to happen.

Outside pick-up and drop-off times, the stretch of road in front of the sc hool is 70km/h. However, because of road upgrades, it has been 50km/h for the past three years.

Traffic engineers have said there is not enough residential housing in the area to justify a permanent 50km/h speed limit.

So far the school has upgraded the 40km/h signs to make them more prominent to drivers.

But Mr Campbell is worried about the predicted increase in traffic along Harewood Rd due to the planned Western Corridor.

If the school can’t get the speed permanently decreased, Mrs Greenwood said she wants people to be more vigilant and slow down.

“We need drivers to actually think what if that was my child? They need to put on that hat and I think that would help,” she said.

But for now, the school will rely on its road patrol to keep pupils are safe.

“Our road patrol does a fabulous job, but we have to be very vigilant – we wait a long time before letting children cross.”