Hunter parents sick of waiting for school lights

LIFE IN THE SLOW LANE: Clarice Hamling, Jodie Cartwright and Emily, 9, and Evan Clarke, 8, below the new lights installed near Minmi Public School yesterday.- Picture by Kitty Hill
LIFE IN THE SLOW LANE: Clarice Hamling, Jodie Cartwright and Emily, 9, and Evan Clarke, 8, below the new lights installed near Minmi Public School yesterday.- Picture by Kitty Hill

HUNTER parents fed up with waiting for the State Government to install flashing lights outside school zones are paying to install their own sets.Minmi Public School this week became the first school in the region to have lights independently installed in time for the start of term two.The move has been backed by the Parents and Citizens Association Hunter Council, and other schools are expected to follow Minmi's lead.Earlier this month it was revealed fewer than one in 10 Hunter school zones was fitted with flashing lights to alert drivers of the 40 kmh speed limit.Parents and Citizens Association Hunter Council member Clarice Hamling took up the cause after growing frustrated with attempts to get flashing lights at schools.She got the signs from a Sydney firm and secured support from Newcastle and Maitland councils.The signs read "check speed" and have flashing lights, but are not official RTA signs.Schools wanting to install the signs must get permission to erect them on nearby private properties as they are not allowed to use RTA land.Parents at Minmi Public School were keen to get the signs after the RTA said the street outside their school was not busy enough to qualify for them even though it is a main road.The school also has a crossing just over the top of a blind crest that is used by many of its 116 students.Trucks regularly travel the road to and from a coalmine and quarry.Parents and Citizens Association president Jenny Clarke said drivers would drive past at more than 60 kmh, even though outside the 40 kmh zone the limit was 50 kmh."There have been many near misses," she said.The NSW Government has promised 400 sets in NSW over the next four years, including nine in the Hunter.Schools with inquiries can phone: 0419 601 322.