Police support school traffic safety parade

Police support school traffic safety parade

Wellington

An estimated 720 school children will be marching from Parliament to Wellington’s old Town Hall tomorrow morning to highlight the role they play as members of school traffic safety teams.

The children, from 27 schools within the Wellington City Council boundaries, are all school patrol or traffic wardens and help ensure fellow pupils – and adults – get safely across pedestrian crossings near school gates.

The parade assembles in Parliament Grounds from 9.30am tomorrow and will leave Parliament at 10am. Led by Police traffic patrol vehicles and the Scots College Pipe Band, the parade will travel along Lambton Quay, Willis Street and Mercer Street ending in Civic Square.

It’s expected the parade will reach Civic Square between 10.20am and 10.30am. From there the children will go into the Town Hall and be entertained by Ronald McDonald, magician The Amazing Mr Moon and other activity including music and line dancing from Miramar South School.

The event is being organised by Wellington Area Police Youth Education Services and traffic staff and Cristina Van Dam, the Wellington City Council road safety coordinator with support from McDonalds Wellington franchisees. McDonalds sponsors the school traffic safety programme.

School Patrols and Traffic Wardens are officially called School Traffic Safety Teams. School patrols have signs and a legal power to stop traffic. They can only work on pedestrian crossings. Their calls are: Signs Out (push signs into roadway), Check (check that vehicles have seen them and are going to stop) and Cross Now (tell pedestrians that the crossing is now safe for them to cross.

Traffic wardens have no signs nor can they stop traffic. But they can work on any road or street, whether there is a pedestrian crossing or not. While they can’t stop traffic, they do check that the way is clear before letting pedestrians cross . Their calls are: Wait (tell pedestrians to wait on the footpath) and Cross Now (clear to cross).

Thirty seven schools in the Wellington Area have either School Patrols or Traffic Wardens. Around New Zealand there are about 700 school-patrolled crossings.

New Zealand is one of the few countries to use children in this role and it has worked very well. There is an oft quoted figure that only one person has died on a school patrolled crossing since they were introduced in 1934.

Difficulties patrols face include vehicles driving too fast to stop safely; driving round signs that are extended out into the road; parking in such a way to obstruct the view of patrollers; adult pedestrians getting too impatient and not waiting for patrols to call Cross Now or stepping out around the patrols before the signs are extended.

Ends

Participating schools are:
Berhampore, Lyall Bay, Mount Cook, Newtown, St Francis de Sales, Bellevue, Chartwell, Johnsonville, Karori Normal, Karori West, Newlands, Paparangi, RewaRewa, St Benedict’s, St Brigid’s, St Teresa’s, Cashmere Ave, Holy Cross, Kilbirnie, Miramar Central, Miramar North, Miramar South, Sacred Heart, Seatoun, Strathmore Park, Te Aro, Worser Bay.

Media contact:

Senior Constable Roly Hermans or Constable Rob Barton, Wellington Police Education Service, tel 381 2000
Kaye Calder, Wellington Police District Communications Manager, tel 496 3464 or 021 373 020
Cristina Van Dam, Wellington City Council Road Safety Coordinator, tel 801 3251