Tue, Mar 19, 2024 8:00 AM

School’s plea to speeding drivers


Paula Hulburt

Children at a Marlborough primary school are calling for drivers to slow down and help prevent a potential tragedy.

Pupils at Spring Creek School have launched a bid to get drivers travelling along Ferry Road to stick to the speed limit. Principal Cheryl Alderlieste says drivers often race past the school and fears it is only a matter of time before something serious happens.

“I do not want to be the principal of a school who has to deal with the aftermath.

“It’s a huge, huge concern.”

Ferry Road’s 50 km/h limit drops to 40km/h during school hours. The school opens at 8am and closes at 3.30pm so there are children there most of the day.

But some motorists are ignoring the limits completely, clocking speeds of up to 70 km/h at times.

Large trucks are a particular cause for concern, Cheryl says.

“I’m aware that sometimes trucks sound like they’re going a little bit faster than they are but when we measured the speed with the children quite a few were going well over 50km/h.”

Cheryl contacted some of the trucking firms with her concerns and the issue did briefly improve.

But the majority are back to breaking the speed limit.

Children have been creating large warning signs to hang on the fence next to the road. Urging drivers to slow down, the signs will hopefully remind road users to stick to speed limits.

Cheryl says there have been some near misses in the past.

“In five minutes, the kids counted 20 vehicles speeding.

“It absolutely shocked me [vehicle speeds] when I first started at the school and it’s getting worse.”

Cheryl has recently bought traffic cones and orange flags for the school crossing to let drivers know they need to slow down.

But many ignore it regardless, she says.

“It’s clearly a road patrol yet cars will just go straight through. We had a chat as a school and the kids have voiced their concerns.”

Police have also increased their presence around the school, with an officer attending every morning last week to monitor traffic speeds.

“They’ve been amazing,” Cheryl says.

The school crossing is set to be upgraded in July this year by Marlborough District Council.

Improvements will include a raised safety platform.

Both vehicle and pedestrian access to Spring Creek School is along Ferry Road.

There are no designated cycle areas, and a footpath runs along one side of the road.

The problem is not just a concern for the school, but for the whole community, Cheryl says.

“We’re a rural community; kids come to school after hours. Our bus kids get dropped at Chaytors Road and get their bikes and cycle from there.

“People need to slow down but they just don’t.”

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