Pupils and Council team up to solve parking issues

Methven Primary School pupils are working with the Ashburton District Council to help improve parking around the school.

The school shares its main entrance in McDonald Street with Mt Hutt College. Students have observed drivers incorrectly using mobility parking spaces and stopping on cross-hatched yellow lines when dropping off and picking up children, causing safety concerns.

During term three, Year 5 and 6 pupils from Lyndhurst Room investigated solutions to the issues as part of a class project that encouraged them to be responsible for their community. Council staff, including an engineer, visited the school to hear the children's ideas. Pupils also presented their project to the Methven Community Board.

The Council's Community Development Advisor, Fleur Mulligan, said she was "impressed with the pupils' work and the way they were thinking about the issues".

Council staff are continuing to meet with the class and to consider potential solutions such as the pupils' idea of creating a drop-off zone in McDonald Street, she said.

Lyndhurst Room Teacher Rosie Robinson said as part of the Methven Primary School project, pupils split into five groups, with each collecting data on a different topic. They surveyed residents, parents and other pupils to find out how the main entrance was being used and how the less popular back entrance could be improved.

This work aligns with the Methven Community Board's request for the Council to extend the footpath from the school to Methven Chertsey Road, enabling more pupils to be dropped off at the back entrance.

Working with another engineer, from Ashburton Contracting Ltd, the pupils were able to look thoroughly at all the options for McDonald Street. One of their ideas was to introduce angle parking in the street, though that was later discounted due to the width of the road.

While waiting for the Council's decision, Mrs Robinson said the school would educate parents on better use of the front and back entrances.

"It's great that the children have taken responsibility for a real issue that they face every day," Mrs Robinson said. "They've had some amazing ideas and have come up with alternatives that the Council hadn't considered before."

Pupils presented again to the Methven Community Board last week and will soon trial their proposed drop-off zone.

Page reviewed: 11 Nov 2015 5:38pm