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Henderson South Primary joins TravelWise trend

8 March 2005

Henderson South Primary joins TravelWise trend

Henderson South Primary is the latest school in Waitakere to become part of a growing trend encouraging children to walk or cycle to school.

The school will launch its school travel plan, developed in association with Waitakere City Council and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority under the TravelWise to School programme, on Thursday, March 10 at 6.30pm.

The local community has been consulted on the plan, and provided feedback as to what will suit them best.

The plan includes measures to be taken by the council and the school to help get kids out of their parents' cars, and improve the morning chaos at the school gate, says Henderson Ward Councillor Ewen Gilmour.

Despite most primary students in Waitakere City living close to their schools, research has found the majority are being driven to school.

In the case of Henderson South, over 90% of the school's 280 students live within 1.5km of the school - an easy walking distance for most kids. Yet the Council survey found over half the students are mostly driven to school by mum or dad, says Councillor Gilmour.

Parents are starting to realise it is not good for their child's health to be driven to and from school every day, while they battle for road space, especially around the school gate. And of course every car on the road adds to the pollution problem as well.

Henderson South Primary is looking to set up two walking school buses this year, in which children walk to school in a group, escorted by an adult volunteer (usually a parent).

The Council is investigating options for traffic calming devices around the school, such as judder bars and new road markings to warn drivers they are in a school area.

Fruitvale Primary in New Lynn already has a travel plan tailored to the needs of the local community. Following this success, the Council is also working with schools in the Rathgar and Lincoln Road areas.

For traffic-conscious Aucklanders, parents are realising that driving their children to school is a major contributing factor to traffic congestion around the region.

We all know that it is easier to get around during school holidays because there are fewer cars on the road. People are also starting to understand that kids who walk or cycle to school are fitter, healthier, and more independent and motivated, says Councillor Gilmour.

The launch will also involve a presentation of an enormous tivaevae (quilt) back to the school as part of a memorial for Rosetta Brown, who died unexpectedly last year. Rosetta was Associate Principal for the school, and contributed much time and personal energy to road safety at the school.

ENDS

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