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Road rage: School fears the worst

Greytown School says parking upgrades are urgently needed after a near miss between a student and a vehicle.
School board members have dubbed poor visibility on Reading St a “ticking time bomb”, and claim council plans for increased parking and a footpath extension should be a top priority before there is a tragedy.
Greytown School principal Paula Weston said there was limited parking already at the school’s main entrance.
“With parents parking on the other side road [Reading St] there’s some real visibility issues, especially on rainy days when there’s more cars.
“We’ve already had a near miss – student safety is our main concern.
“It feels like something waiting to happen. We hope and we pray that people are mindful when they are driving.”
There are currently several construction projects on the road, including new classrooms and additions to the Greytown Orchards Retirement Village.
With few off-street parking spaces available, Reading St had become congested with parents’ and contractors parked cars.
Greytown School board trustee Sid Kempton said overall it had created some “really bad” safety issues for the children at school.
“We were actually notified earlier in the month that we had a near miss with one of the construction vehicles and one of our children from the school.
“So that sent shivers down our spines.”
Kempton said construction work to increase available parking needed to be bumped up the priority list.
“We’ve got a ticking time bomb, and we’ve had a close call.
“We did get a phone call from the roading manager earlier in November to say that despite it being promised to be done last Christmas holidays, so December 2021 to January this year, that the upgrades were not going to get done until mid to late 2023.
“So we’re going to be going through yet another winter – that’ll be our third winter of some
pretty major safety issues.”
South Wairarapa District Council roading manager Ruamahanga Roads Tim Langley said the council was on track to install the footpath outside the school.
“We have never set a target date, but tenders for the work have closed and the project will be tabled with Council on December 14 for approval and budget, with the aim of proceeding in the New Year.
“Like many construction projects at present, the timing will depend on the availability of resources, materials and other factors.
“We would note that the speed limit on Reading St currently is 30kmh and would urge all motorists to respect the need to observe this during school hours.”
Greytown Orchards general manager Andrew Bos said the village’s contractors were no longer using the Reading St entrance.
“Our main concerns were how narrow it [Reading St] is and the lack of footpath at the southern end for the school kids to walk on, so people would walk on the road.
“Back at the start, our contractors were using the accesses here but all the development on this end is done and they don’t use those entrances anymore.
“Now they access the site on Market Rd, so it’s a lot less of an issue.”
Weston said the school had arranged a meeting with the mayor for next week.
“We sent our documents to the council and they’ve been swift to respond to that.
“There is a plan in place by the council, but that has been a long time coming.”

George Shiers
George Shiers
George Shiers is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age interested in politics and social issues. He reports regularly on a range of topics including infrastructure, housing, and transport. George is also the Tararua reporter and helps cover police, fire and court stories.

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