Solway Primary School staff and students arrived at school to an unwelcome surprise on Thursday morning – overnight, and without warning, yellow lines had been painted on the road outside the school where car parks used to be.
School principal Mark Bridges described the first morning with the yellow lines as “chaos” and said notice of the lines being installed would have given him an opportunity to inform parents and caregivers of the new layout.
Parking spaces are available around the corner from the school, and the two remaining spaces at the front are reserved for school buses and after-school club pickup vans.
Plans for a nearby development have been in the works since July last year, and Bridges contacted Masterton District Council [MDC] to make sure the school’s needs were being taken into consideration – he didn’t hear back.
While he could see the logic in the new layout and thinks the traffic flow will be improved over time, the lack of contact or notification from MDC has been a sore point for the principal.
“It was pretty chaotic Thursday morning,” he said.
“There were a few near misses because there’s still cones all over the place.
“Places where parents could usually park, they couldn’t, and they didn’t know you can park around the corner.”
The timing of the yellow line installation comes as students are just returning to school and Bridges questioned why this work couldn’t have been done before the start of the term.
He said the council had called him after receiving calls from the public about the changes.
“It would be nice if we had a bit of a heads up,” Bridges said.
Other contractors doing work in the vicinity of the school had usually given them about a week or two notice, he said.
“I was a bit ticked off that we hadn’t been in the loop.”
Bridges believes the school, which has been at the site for around 100 years, should be taken into consideration with any nearby developments.
An MDC spokesperson said the change of the road layout was required as part of development work in the area.
A consultation about the installation of flush medians and yellow lines was required by the developer as part of the process, he said.
“The installation of the flush medians on this section of road required parking spaces on the side of the road to be removed to provide sufficient space to allow following traffic to proceed,” the spokesperson said.
The requirement to complete consultation was to be carried out by the developer, and any information received from this was to be passed on to the council, the spokesperson said.
“The new road layout, while removing some parking, provides improved safety in response to traffic generated by the commercial development in the area.”
Bridges noted that the school has been requesting a marked pedestrian crossing outside the school for several years and yet the yellow lines were able to appear overnight.
“We are looking at further safety improvements, and these have been shared with the school,” the MDC spokesperson said.
“We hope to be able to create a permanent raised pedestrian crossing.
“Funding for this work is co-shared with the government and the council.
“We should know if these funds have been approved in the last quarter of 2024.”