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Smart sign for safety-savvy students

paremata school

Pupils at Paremata School lobby for smart sign

A class project of year 3 &4 students at Paremata Primary school brought about a partnership with Porirua City Council and the Paremata Residents Association and led to Porirua’s first ‘smart’ school road sign.

It all started in 2018, when Jannien Kamphuis, a teacher at Paremata Primary School tasked her class to do a project on the speed and behaviour of drivers using Paremata Crescent.  The class got to work and what followed just shows how you are never too little to make a big impact.

Not many children walked or biked to school on Paremata Crescent as they didn’t feel safe with speeding cars and a lot of traffic on the road. I asked my students to do some research and make iMovies of their findings – which we then sent to two local councillors to highlight our problem with the road,” says Ms Kamphuis.

Reuben, a year 4 student, say “we took photos, measured the speed of the cars coming by and then put it all together in an iMovie. We then showed our movies to the Police, some local councillors and the Transport team at the City Council.”

We said that too many cars are coming on this road and they need to go slower,” says year 4 pupil Petra.

After some discussions, the Paremata Residents Association and the Council’s Village Planning and Transport teams decided to collaborate and investigate the issues further.

The Council monitored vehicle speeds as well as the number of cars using Paremata Road.  The results justified a closer look at options to reduce vehicle speeds and highlighted an opportunity to improve road signage along the north and south approaches to the school. Drivers needed to be made aware they’re in a school zone and had to slow down and drive safer.

Funding from the Council’s Village Planning Programme made the solution of one ‘smart’ sign and a flashing warning sign at both ends of the main entry to Paremata School on Paremata Crescent possible. The ‘smart’ sign was manufactured in France and took almost four months from order to delivery, so it was not a quick process.

We are lucky because we are the first school in Porirua to have this kind of sign that lights up. How cool! These signs will make walking to school safer for us,” the kids say in their newsletter.

The ‘smart’ sign has a sensor that pick up when an approaching car is speeding, which in turn will trigger flashing lights and a warning that it is a ‘School Zone’. Both signs are solar powered and will only operate during school pick-up and drop-off times.

“We are really impressed with the way the kids worked together to get this fantastic result for their community. Their efforts and the support from the Council’s Village Planning Programme have resulted in making Paremata Crescent a safer road to walk to school,” says Robyn Steel, Manager City Partnerships at Porirua City Council.

Everybody in our class and our community worked so hard to get this result, we all believed we could make a change. It was a team effort and students’ voice can be powerful,” says Johanna, Petra, Stella and Nina from the 2019 class.

19 Dec 2019