A range of projects will soon be underway making it safer for many Auckland children travelling to school.
Auckland Transport (AT), with funding from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), will be working together with schools and communities to design projects. Projects could include opening school streets for play, reducing speed outside schools, new pedestrian crossings, and getting more kids riding bikes and walking.
Up to 12 schools across Auckland will be involved with Ōwairaka District School and Sunnyhills Primary School confirmed to take part so far. Other Auckland schools will be given the opportunity to express their interest in the coming months.
ACC has committed $1.4 million to AT programmes that will improve safety outside the school gate. In addition to this, AT was awarded just over $840,000 of funding to support additional safety-based school programmes from Waka Kotahi’s Innovating Streets fund. The Innovating Streets fund aims to make our streets safer and more people-friendly.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff welcomes the funding. “The projects that this funding makes possible will help make our streets safer for Auckland children, encourage more kids to walk and cycle to school and help to create more people-friendly neighbourhoods,” he says.
“Local communities will have input into the design and delivery of these projects to ensure that they work for the people using them.”
Sunnyhills Primary School Assistant Principal Sue Venville says a trial event held last year was a great start.
“We had a fantastic one-day event last year with AT where we tested some ideas to make the street outside our front gates safer.”
“I am really looking forward to some of these ideas being trialled for a longer period to make sure they achieve the outcomes we are seeking for our children,” Venville says.
AT’s Community Transport Manager Claire Dixon says the projects will benefit school children across the region.
“All children should have the opportunity to travel to school in ways that are good for their health and the planet.”
“These projects will use fun, quick changes like planter boxes, street art, walking school buses, and temporary street closures to make it safer,” Dixon says.
“We will work with schools and whānau to figure out what needs to be done to improve road safety and to make it happen. After the trial periods, we will look towards making the changes permanent.”
ACC Road Safety Team Leader David Keilty says “it is important to create a safe environment for tamariki, that encourages the practice of road safety at all times.”
“This programme achieves this by reducing the risk of road related accidents and limiting their severity. We are confident in the positive impact this road safety programme will have in the schools and their communities.”
Statistics show that other AT initiatives such as the Travelwise programme are working. For the fourth year running, there have been no deaths for active school aged road users (5-18yrs) on weekdays between 7am to 9am and 3pm to 5pm.