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Taranaki school students share ideas for making their road safer

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Taranaki school students have provided some valuable insights into safety issues on their road and what they think could be done to improve it.

The NZ Transport Agency is looking at ways to make the stretch of SH3 between New Plymouth and Hawera safer. Following community drop-in sessions to canvas public opinion, nearby schools were invited to complete worksheets to gauge student views.

Six schools took part at the end of last year, with more than 100 students sharing their concerns and ideas for making the road safer.

The Transport Agency Transport Systems Manager Ross I’Anson says the students’ views will help the project team develop the most appropriate safety solutions for the road.

“This route cuts through a number of towns and increases in traffic over recent years have made it more difficult for locals to move safely and easily around their towns. Making it safer for pedestrians and cyclists in these communities is a big priority for this project, so we were keen to understand what issues students faced when travelling to and from school. We’re very grateful to Ngaere, Eltham, Mangorei, Egmont Village, Inglewood and Normanby schools for taking part in the activity.”

“Some strong themes came through in the feedback with many students saying they were concerned about vehicles travelling too fast near their school and that they felt unsafe crossing the highway to get to school. Many suggested lowering the speed limit outside their school and building pedestrian overbridges, underpasses and crossings.”

Students also wanted to see signage warning drivers to watch out for children and they urged drivers to pay attention and slow down when travelling past their school.

“We also received some more unconventional ideas for making the road safer, such as installing machines that deactivate mobile phones near schools to stop people texting and driving,” says Mr I’Anson.

The Transport Agency is currently developing safety improvement options for the road and expects to be able to go back to the community with proposals in the first half of 2019. This project is part of the Safe Network Programme, which is a collaborative, prioritised programme of proven safety treatments on high risk routes across New Zealand.

Safety improvements could include:

  • installing safety barriers on the roadside and down the middle of the road to stop motorists and motorcyclists running off the road and crashing head on
  • widening the centreline to reduce head-on collisions
  • making improvements to intersections so it’s safer to turn
  • creating safe places for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the highway
  • improving signage
  • making changes to passing lanes.

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