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Crackdown on dangerous school parking

NEWS RELEASE 28 October 2008

Crackdown on dangerous school parking

A recent increase in near-misses - and complaints from principals - has prompted the City Council and Police to start a crackdown on motorists who park on footpaths or otherwise park illegally around local primary schools.

The Council's Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Manager, Holden Hohaia, says children especially are being forced to walk on roads, and to emerge from between parked cars to cross roads. "The problem is obviously worst before and after school - when parents are parking as close as possible to the school gate."

From next Monday 3 November, Council parking wardens and Police will ticket any vehicle parked on a footpath, on broken yellow lines or otherwise dangerously within a 250-metre radius of a primary school.

Council Transport Safety Education Coordinator Michelle Stevenson says the dangerous parking seems to have worsened in recent months. "It's hard to figure whether it's been the bad weather over winter or whether it's just laziness - but so many parents seem to want to park virtually outside the school gate.

Holden adds that there's traffic chaos in the mornings and afternoons outside a number of suburban schools - the problem seems to particularly bad in Karori and Northland - but it's a problem all over the city.

"We've had reports and complaints about kids almost being hit by passing cars outside some schools. We don't want a child to be killed - which is why we're targeting these inconsiderate parked-up motorists."

Now the weather is better and warmer - and the rains seem to have stopped - Holden says there's less excuse for parents to have to park so close to schools. "Our friendly advice to parents is to park a bit down the road and walk to the gate to meet the kids."

Holden says the new schools parking-enforcement programme will become a 'permanent fixture' when schools reopen after the summer holidays. "We've had considerable pressure from many school principals for the Council and Police to get tough with parents who park dangerously. We're more than happy to oblige."

Parents who insist on parking dangerously and inconsiderately should be aware that wardens will 'pop up' near schools all around the city without warning - and will issue tickets. "We won't issue warnings - motorists will be getting fines," says Holden.

Wellington Police have a high profile around schools to ensure speed compliance within a 4 kmh tolerance, but Senior Sergeant Richard Hocken of the city's Strategic Traffic Unit says Police will also enforce parking breaches in the interests of child safety.


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