Wardens target parents

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A zero tolerance approach to illegal parking outside Nelson’s St Josephs School has seen a number of parking tickets being handed out to parents and caregivers – but it hasn’t been initiated by the school.

Nelson City Council have employed a camera-armed parking warden to patrol outside the school on Manuka St at drop off and pick up times – where double-parking, stopping in traffic lanes and congestion have become a major issue.

The school’s principal Mike Burton says he has welcomed the council’s involvement in keeping the school’s parking problems at bay.

“It seems to be a practical and reasonable thing to do. With Manuka St being a common road between St Joseph’s and Nelson Central schools, it becomes very congested when schools come out at the end of the day,” he explains.

“We haven’t asked for it or initiated it at all – the council just do it and we are happy for them to continue. When the wardens are not there we do see bad parking habits creep in again.”

A spokesperson from Nelson City Council says they introduced parking wardens on Manuka St after they received complaints from residents about illegal parking near the school.

“The stopping and parking restrictions around schools are designed primarily for the safety of students to ensure they are able to see and be seen by moving traffic. We encourage parents to choose safe parking over convenience at all times. This approach is generally welcomed and supported by all schools council works with.”

The school is also encouraging parents to adhere to the parking regulations for the safety of children, and Mike also says it would be helpful if parents from both schools parked further from the schools and walked to pick up their children if they were too young to walk alone.

One parent from the school says she has to leave home well ahead of drop off and pick up times to find a park, and she see’s “lots” of people who over-welcome their stay in the time-limited parking spaces.’

“I can see why people are doing it as the parking is not good, but I can also see the need to issue fines if safety is compromised.”

Another parent describes the parking as “awful,” with another saying his younger daughter nearly got hit by a car when he came to collect his older son last month.

“It’s a circus – it gets pretty frantic.”

The school have also introduced a ‘drop and drive’ initiative, where parents are able to quickly drop off younger children at the gate where they are met by a senior student who takes them to their classroom. Mike says this has helped with some of the congestion and freed up more parking spaces.

Mike also says that when the council get around to creating a full length footpath outside the school in Bronte St, the Manuka St situation may improve as parents will be able to safely use this area for pickups.

“The council’s parking restrictions are probably the best that can be achieved in this situation and if they are adhered to, children will be safe.”