TravelWise school programme improves Pukekohe road safety

Press Release – Auckland Transport

Road safety improvements by Auckland Transport will help students at three Pukekohe schools make wise travel choices to get to schoolMEDIA RELEASE

Thursday 8 March

TravelWise school programme improves road safety for Pukekohe schools

Road safety improvements by Auckland Transport will help students at three Pukekohe schools make wise travel choices to get to school

Pukekohe Intermediate, Pukekohe College and Pukekohe Hill School have joined Auckland Transport’s Travelwise programme and the planned safety improvements will benefit all three schools.

Some of the road safety improvements to be completed by June 2012 are:

• Zebra crossing upgrades on Queen St and Edinburgh St

• Roundabout upgrades at Queen St / Harris St intersection.

• Installation of a new roundabout at Ward/Wellington

• 40km speed warnings signs on Ward Street for Pukekohe Hill School

• Active warning signs on Harris St, Queen Street and Edinburgh Street for Pukekohe Intermediate and Pukekohe High School.

• New kea crossing on Green Lane

At Pukekohe Intermediate School, Heather Garrett, lead Travelwise teacher says students have been keen ambassadors of the new TravelWise programme.

“Our school already has a high percentage of students getting to school sustainably (walk, cycle, scooter, bus), however 28 per cent travel by car and the students indicated on their surveys that they would like to reduce this down to two per cent.

“We’ve had fun wheels days that were well patronised and competed in roller-hockey, scooter slalom, skateboarding at the skate-park, and a cycling confidence course at Bledisloe Park.

“The highlight of the day was seeing 75 bikes at school. On a normal school day, sadly, we only have 5 to 10 bikes at school.

“We are hoping the answer to this problem will be an improvement to the roads around the school, which is currently being addressed with professional help from Auckland Transport. We are also attempting to solve our scooter storage problems, as currently these are cluttering up our classrooms.

“We have begun the year with a cycle safety emphasis, and hopefully during the summer term at least, we can increase the number of cyclists to school. Our school wide surveys indicated more of our students would like to cycle or scooter to school, particularly if safety on surrounding roads were improved,” says Ms Garrett.

While over at Hill school, students there are concerned that there are few pedestrian crossings to get into town safely. Travelwise teacher Shirley Smart says students are pleased to know that the programme is going to help provide more pedestrian crossings in Pukekohe.

“The children at Hill enjoy being part of the walking school bus because it gives them a chance to catch up with their friends before and after school.

“They also love being able to come to school on bikes and scooters. Mini wheels are promoted every term, with members of the TravelWise team coming in to check helmets and bike brakes,” says Ms Smart.

Each class in the school took part in in the Planning for Real activity where they learnt about the meaning and importance of road safety and sustainable transport. They identified what they liked about walking, what would make walking to school easier, and identified local pedestrian safety issues on a large map.

Auckland Transport’s Community Transport Manager, Matthew Rednall says the safety benefits of a TravelWise programme have greatly improved safety for children travelling to and from school.

“Our programme of road safety improvements will help slow down traffic, improve pedestrian visibility, make walking, cycling or scootering a more viable option to get to school and work to reduce congestion outside the school gates, says Mr Rednall.

“Each school is different so the TravelWise programme involves working closely with students, staff and parents to tailor school travel plans to the complex needs of individual schools,” says Mr Rednall.

ENDS

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