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"Chaos at the School Gate" programme requested

Auckland City Council's "Chaos at the School Gate" programme requested by schools

Auckland City Council is to reintroduce its “Chaos at the School Gate” (CASG) programme on Monday 26 May 2003.

The programme consists of a zero tolerance policy of parking infringements and the introduction of mufti patrols. It is initiated as a result of requests from schools which expressed serious concerns about the illegal stopping and parking of parents near the school gate.

“Schools have raised some important issues related to the safety of children, including concerns regarding parents dropping off children in traffic lanes, parents double parking and traffic flows being impeded,” says Mr Joseph Flanagan, manager traffic and roading services. “School gates in Auckland city can cause a major problem for both schools and the local community. We were asked to assist in modifying the management of school parking enforcement.”

The implementation of strict parking compliance around the school gate helps minimise the dangers for children as vulnerable road users. In addition, congestion problems would be alleviated.

“Zero tolerance ensures that parents and caregivers realise that their behaviour is not acceptable as it negatively impacts on the safety of children, the flow of traffic and causes major inconvenience to local residents and in some areas to local businesses,” adds Mr Flanagan. Mufti patrols were introduced because previous experience had shown that while parking behaviour improves significantly when a parking officer is in attendance, some parents and/or caregivers quickly revert to illegal and dangerous parking practices when the officers are no longer evident.

Schools were prioritised in a “first come, first served” basis as the council only has a capacity to accommodate 10 schools per term. Other schools which requested the programme to be applied at their gates have been placed on an additions list to be put on the programme in term three or to be bumped onto this term’s roster in the event of another school dropping out or not fulfilling the council’s requirements.

Schools participating in this programme had the responsibilities of informing the school community before the commencement of the programme and during its continued implementation (i.e. participation in the programme, parking officers patrolling in mufti clothing and non-compliant behaviour resulting in a ticket being issued).

“ We have required evidence that the distribution of information to the school community regarding the programme has been implemented and is ongoing,” says Mr Flanagan. “Information pamphlets were sent out to the first 10 respondent schools to distribute to parents. Schools could request these fact sheets in a range of 10 different languages to accommodate parents varying cultural backgrounds.”

Parking officers are required to carry identification and warrant cards when attending a mufti patrol. The officer attending will visit the school office, inform of their presence and leave a Parking Services card.

Parking officers in uniform have been present at selected schools for the past two weeks to smooth the reintroduction of the programme. From Monday 26 May, parking officers will be in mufti clothes.

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