19 April 2021
Work to improve safety for students outside Waikite Valley School begins this week.
The work on the pick-up and drop-off area will improve safety for students as they arrive at and leave school each day.
Watch a video about the Rural School Road Safety Review here
During the two-week school break later this month, Council’s contractors will formalise parking, construct traffic islands to separate the parking area from the road and bus turning bay, add new signage, and construct a new footpath to enable safe entry into the school area.
This work is expected to cost around $70,000.
In 2019, a group of students from Lake Rerewhakaaitu School presented their own research about safety in their area. Their research included speed recordings and information from their classmates and school parents. Elected members subsequently approved a safety review of all rural schools and Council’s Safe and Sustainable Journeys Team worked with 16 rural schools and the Rotorua Rural Community Board to help identify and mitigate their road safety issues.
During consultation staff heard from the school principal that it wasn’t just speed that was an issue but that parking, signage and bus routes were also significant concerns.
Rotorua Rural Community Board Chair Shirley Trumper says this has been an important piece of work that the Board and Council have been focussed on since 2019.
“A presentation from Lake Rerewhakaaitu School students was the catalyst for the Rural School Road Safety Review which was rolled out across all rural schools, and saw the Rotorua Rural Community Board and Council really getting involved and wanting to work alongside the schools to make it safer for tamariki getting to and from school.
“It showed the importance of getting out and talking to the people in those communities to really understand what was going on and what the solutions needed to be. Everyone has been really supportive along the way and I’m extremely pleased to see these priority projects get underway.”
The Rural Schools Road Safety Review has led to a number of priority projects identified for initial improvements, with further work to happen in stages in the coming years as funding becomes available.
Other improvements/projects underway include:
- Ngākuru School – safety improvements to the drop-off and pick-up area outside the school. Work has already started on undergrounding services, with construction scheduled for later in 2021.
- Electronic variable speed signs at three schools. These signs can show a reduced speed limit of 40km/h during school times:
- Lake Rerewhakaaitu School
- Waikite Valley School
- Broadlands School
This work is currently out for tender and will begin later in the year.
- Rotorua Speed Limit Review – a number of roads where rural schools are located have been identified and are currently out for consultation for speed reductions. Following consultation elected members will consider feedback and make decisions. Any speed limit changes are likely to be implemented before the end of 2021.
- Road safety billboards installed outside rural schools.
- Additional crossing outside Mamaku School.
- Hi-vis vests provided to rural schools for children using the bus service.