A Pāpāmoa principal is worried a child may be seriously injured or killed if more isn’t done to reduce speeding outside his school.
Te Manawa ō Pāpāmoa School is on Te Okuroa Road and principal Shane Cunliffe says people speed along it at all times of the day, despite the recently installed crossing.
The speed limit on Te Okuroa Drive is 50kmph.
The new school opened at the start of term one and Tauranga City Council installed speed bumps during the April school holidays. The bumps were changed to a crossing in the last week of the July school holidays.
Cunliffe says the speed bumps helped slow the traffic but now it was a crossing people speed through the area.
“Now we've got cars that are increasing their speed,” he says.
“They're not stopping, the crossing doesn't mean anything. At least before it was making things slow down, even though it caused a lot of angst with neighbours”
He says a lot of parents are “quite scared” to allow their children to walk to school alone and he was yet to see if this changed because of the crossing because it had rained most of the time since it had been installed.
“In terms of kids walking to school, it's probably too early to say.
“Ultimately the Tauranga City Council are not wanting parents to be dropping kids off.
“They're wanting them to come by foot like any school just to stop congestion, but it's not safe with the speed of those cars,” he says.
Principal Shane Cunliffe wants a signalised crossing installed outside his school. Photo: Supplied.
“I can talk firsthand because I was in a portacom on that roundabout all of last year and the number of cars that have spun out on that roundabout, just boy racing and just being idiots is crazy.”
The entrance to the school is off a roundabout on Te Okuroa Drive, not directly on the road itself.
Cunliffe says he wasn’t an advocate of the speed bumps because there should have been consultation with the community.
“We knew nothing about it, they just got put in one night.”
The temporary speed bumps were described as “vicious and aggressive" by some locals.
Pāpāmoa East resident Ian Young says the style of speed bump was “so vicious”.
“It was absolutely infuriating having to get down to almost a dead stop to drive over the hump,” says Young.
He says he saw many drivers “plant their boot and take off like absolute madmen” after getting over the hump.
“I think they were like me and just felt so much irritation and anger at this stupid speed bump in the middle of a road that buses and trucks and all sorts of transport use and you had to wonder why it was there.”
Young says the crossing is “much better” than the speed bumps.
Pāpāmoa Residents and Ratepayers Association chairman Philip Brown. Photo: John Borren/SunLive.
Pāpāmoa Residents and Ratepayers Association chairman Philip Brown says the speed bumps were “aggressive” and should only be used in carparks not on an arterial route.
He says the crossing is a “good compromise”.
“It’s great to see the speed bumps removed, they should never have been there in the first place,” says Brown.
“Traffic can get back to normal. In fact, I've had people tell me how good it is now.”
Tauranga City Council director of transport Brendan Bisley says the speed humps were installed as a temporary measure and an immediate solution to reduce traffic speed in front of the school.
“The speed humps were removed to make way for a raised table crossing however, until it can be installed in October a pedestrian crossing has been put in place as an alternative safety measure to help slow traffic in the area and improve safety for the children while crossing Te Okuroa Drive,” he says.
When asked why there was no consultation with the community about the speed bumps Bisley replied: “The school and the adjacent property owners were advised that temporary speed humps were to be installed”.
The speed bumps before they were replaced by a crossing. Photo: John Borren/SunLive.
Cunliffe says the school approached the council about the need for a crossing around two years ago, prior to the school being built.
“It shouldn't take for a kid to be killed for something to happen.”
Bisley says the speed humps weren’t installed until April because detailed site investigation works were required to determine the appropriate safety measures.
“A raised pedestrian crossing was due to be installed in July, however this was delayed due to the additional stormwater investigation works required."
The principal wants to see a signalised crossing installed outside the school.
“I think with the speed, with the size of the road the safest option is to have a pedestrian light [crossing] there.
“That kids can press, and it stops the traffic at any given time, not just when there's road patrollers on because someone will get killed.”
Brown wanted to see a signalised crossing as well, because “any kind of speed hump or bump in that street, just impedes traffic”.
“It's unnecessary to have the destruction of a new road with something like that.”
Bisley says a signalised crossing was considered as an option.
“However, it was determined that a raised patrolled pedestrian crossing would achieve the proposed safety outcomes required.”
He says in future, a 30kph speed limit is proposed along Te Okuroa Drive in front of the school.
The cost of installing the speed bumps was $8,500 and the pedestrian crossing cost $7,150, says Bisley.
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