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Keith Park residents keep kids safe at road crossing

Written by Maryvonne Gray
on February 29, 2024

A group of residents from Ryman Healthcare’s Keith Park Retirement Village in Hobsonville is taking action to help primary school students from nearby Scott Point School cross the road safely.

The six residents were horrified to see primary aged children, often on bikes and scooters, hurrying along the pathway which then deceptively continues right over Clark Road next to the village.

Because of the design features, and visibility issues from parked vehicles, there was often little time for children to realise they were crossing a road, and little time for drivers to slow down or stop.


While the school has been open since February 2021, the problem only developed recently after the completion of a new pathway between Keith Park Village and a new council-owned park area on Clark Road.

Students had previously been using Scott Road to get to school but when the new pathway opened, the route crossing over Clark Road proved to be a quicker option.

However, Keith Park residents watching the morning school run from their apartments soon noticed the potential accidents waiting to happen.

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Resident Don Bennington during an afternoon patrol as vehicles travel along Clark Road.

Top pic, left to right: Peter and Heather Jackson, Don Bennington and Colin Burrows.

Keith Park resident Don Bennington, gathered some of his neighbours together to take action, donning high vis vests and patrolling in the mornings and afternoons to help the children cross safely.

“In the mornings I get out there no later than 8.15am because sometimes some early people come through,” says Don.

“I would hate to think that someone got run over because I wasn’t there.”

Don admits it is a real concern for him and his fellow residents Ralph Martin, Peter and Heather Jackson and Colin and Lois Burrows.

“It was quite pleasing to see the track open but it’s not safe to cross without someone being there.

“They do need to put in a proper pedestrian crossing because you can see the trails of children coming along. Even the parents sometimes walk straight across!

“I always make a point of stopping the children. Some of them are so small they wouldn’t be able to see over the shrubs!” Don says.

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Patrols in the morning (above) and afternoon (below), which reveals how the path continues across Clark Road, leaving pedestrians, cyclists or scooterists sometimes unaware that they need to look out for cars.

IMG_9682 (Large)Scott Point School Principal Pam King says there have been calls from the school community for a proper pedestrian crossing to be installed on what was a very busy road and she welcomed any further support from concerned residents from both Keith Park Retirement Village and the wider Hobsonville community.

Until that occurred, she said both the school and parents were thankful for the residents’ efforts.

“We are just so grateful to have the team from Ryman helping in the morning and afternoon.

“There has been overwhelming positive feedback from our parents about the help of the residents at the crossing so we hope this can continue,” she said.

“Although they are not expected to stop traffic, it certainly helps having them there as drivers are a lot more aware when they see them in their vests.”

Pam added: “We plan to do something for the residents to say thanks.”

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Don assists mums and children across the busy road as a truck slows down in the distance (above) and thanks waiting drivers as schoolchildren cross (below).

IMG_9689 (Large)Local MP Cameron Brewer was also on the case, with Member Support Linda Cooper contacting Auckland Transport as well.

A Customer Liaison worker from Auckland Transport told Ryman Healthcare that the safety rating for this area was currently considered ‘low to medium’ but the location had been added to its Community Initiated Engineering Programme for consideration due to the anticipated increase in pedestrian activity once the park was completed.

“However, we will be installing advisory speed signs of 15km/h at the raised table as a reminder to drivers to lower their speed in the vicinity of the courtesy crossing.

“We will also be installing pedestrian signs to enhance awareness of pedestrians in the area. We aim to make these changes by April 2024,” the Customer Liaison worker said.

About Ryman Healthcare:

Ryman was founded in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The company owns and operates 45 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia which are home to more than 13,900 residents and the company employs 6,800 team members.

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