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Plans approved to get Auckland kids moving

Plans approved to get Auckland kids moving

Plans are afoot to improve options and safety for children getting to school, giving them one less excuse for being late!

Auckland City’s Transport Committee gave the go-ahead today for a customised school travel plan to be developed for Avondale Primary School, the first school in Auckland to benefit under the Travelwise 4 School programme.

The programme aims to create travel alternatives for pupils other than being dropped off by car – ultimately reducing school-related travel congestion and safety issues.

“The initiative is a common-sense approach to reducing the number of cars making short trips during peak periods,” says Councillor Greg McKeown, Transport Committee chairperson.

“The overall goal is for participating schools, their communities and boards of trustees to help identify barriers to safe and active transport to and from school. We can then work with them to reduce or remove any hazards and ensure a safer environment for our kids to travel in,” says Mr McKeown.

School-related travel is a major contributor to Auckland’s traffic problems, with up to 40 per cent of morning peak journeys heading to school or educational destinations. Car journeys to school are estimated as doubling since the mid-1980s.

School travel-related accidents are another problem the programme aims to reduce – in the past five years there have been more than 200 on-road crashes involving children under 15 years old in Auckland city, with over half of these occurring on journeys to and from school.

“We already have Walking School Buses, Chaos at the School Gate and other programmes working well in some schools,” says Mr McKeown.

“This initiative will co-ordinate these programmes to create school-specific plans that make walking and cycling to school safer, and assist in identifying possible passenger transport improvements.”

In addition to Avondale Primary School, there are three other schools earmarked for travel plans this financial year, including Mt Albert Grammar School, Waiheke Primary School (Seaview Road) and Onehunga Primary School.

Reinforcing the council’s commitment to safety around schools, the Transport Committee also today agreed to adopt school speed zones as a safety tool, enabling the council to reduce the speed limit in the vicinity of some Auckland schools to 40km/h during peak drop-off and pick-up periods, if required.

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