New pedestrian crossing for schools

Parents and children must now use the pedestrian crossing at Groenvlei High School.

Pupils who used the pedestrian crossing opposite Portia Primary School will now use the one opposite Groenvlei High School as the City of Cape Town is making way for a MyCiTi bus stop in Jan Smuts Drive.

The pedestrian crossing on Jan Smuts Drive, which is 70 metres away from where the other one was, will now serve the pupils of Groenvlei High School and Portia and York Road primary schools.

This will ensure that pupils and parents who mostly reside in Hanover Park and Pinate Estate can cross the busy road safely without dodging cars in the morning and afternoon peak traffic.

Deputy principal of York Road Primary School, Roger Mason, said although the school had not consulted about this, they would have to teach pupils to use the reinforced pedestrian crossing now.

He said that the one opposite Groenvlei High School was not really used because of the robberies that took place at that spot. It is also very dirty as rubbish and faeces lay there.

“We can’t use areas where muggings take place. If we can get safety groups on board it will be okay. We are thinking of getting pupils together after school to clean the area so that we can enhance it and keep it clean. It is constantly being vandalised and dumped on,” he said.

Lansdowne ward councillor, Mark Kleinschmidt, said this formed part of the City of Cape Town’s plans to create a MyCiTi bus stop at the same spot which will form part of the current Claremont-Wynberg route.

“We have never had accidents here and we want to keep it that way. This will give our parents and pupils more confidence to cross the busy road in peak in the morning.”

But principal of Portia Primary School, Kevin Velensky, has raised the safety alarm. He said that in the long term the MyCiTi bus stop would service the community but at the moment children needed to walk an extra 200 metres to get to the pedestrian crossing. He said this put pupils at a greater risk where safety was concerned.

“So we have two options: either they must walk on the pavements and use the back entrance or use the alley between York Road and Groenvlei. It is, however, dangerous as it has been neglected and has very poor lighting, and is filthy,” he said.

Mr Velensky said about 10 to 15 people get mugged in the alley daily as vagrants and gangsters frequent it.

“For now we have placed staff along the way to make sure that kids get to school safely but this is not a feasible solution. We had a safety meeting at school on Saturday February 8 to have conversation about mobilising a walking bus as seen in other areas to make sure that our kids get to and from school safely. We would, however, need all role-players to buy in to make it successful,” he said.