Traffic lights make busy road safer for pupils

Traffic lights installed on the corner of Imam Haron Road and Laurier Street near Batavia School of Skills.

There are new traffic lights outside a special-needs school in Claremont.

The City installed the lights at the existing pedestrian crossing on the corner of Imam Haron Road and Laurier Street, on Thursday July 22, after the Batavia School of Skills raised concerns about the pupils’ safety

Principal Selna Thiart says many of the pupils use public transport and arrive in morning peak-hour traffic while it is still dark.

In June, a pupil crossing the road was hit by a taxi. “The pupil is fine, he made a recovery and was sent to Victoria Hospital, though the safety matter has been raised for years,” she said.

Ward councillor Sharon Cottle said the school was on a public-transport route and the pupils needed to cross the road to catch buses and go to the shops.

“The City has a programme to address Road Safety at schools,” she said.

According to City spokesman Luthando Tyhalibongo, the school’s pupils did their own investigation, in 2017, into pedestrian safety as part of a school project, and it pointed out the hazards of crossing Imam Haron Road. It noted that half of the school’s 550 pupils used public transport.

“With approximately 1 000 vehicles per hour, the risk of an incident was high for those who had to cross the road to the bus stop or to go to the shop,” he said.

The City installed a pedestrian crossing in September last year in response to the pupils’ 2017 investigation.

The lights had been installed after the school had made requests to the ward councillor and the Transport Information Centre and following an assessment by the City’s transport directorate, Mr Tyhalibongo said.

Apart from the pupil hit by the taxi in June, Mr Tyhalibongo said the City knew of three other cases where pupils had been hit by vehicles.

Ms Thiart said she had been pleasantly surprised to see the traffic lights going up. “Something finally came together, and there are no excuses now for the pupils to run and cross the road.”