“Abusive” protesters stop road works to protect school children
âAbusiveâ protesters have stopped work on installing a speed bump to improve safety in front of a school in Auckland.
A small group of protesters went to Surrey Crescent outside the Gray Lynn School on Wednesday evening to yell at and threaten local residents and workers.
Auckland Transport apologized to residents of Gray Lynn on Friday morning, saying work had been delayed until next week because locals “illegally entered the site”.
“Sorry if you heard any interference on Surrey Crescent Wednesday night regarding work on the Gray Lynn Safe School Speeds project,” the note reads.
* Anti-cycle path protesters claim victory over the laying of the controversial curb
* Anti-cycle path protester arrested after attack on traffic island with sledgehammer
* Protester left angry after tents were destroyed on controversial Auckland bike path
“Work has now been delayed to at least next week as some members of the wider community have illegally entered the site.”
The notice said that work would likely resume during the day rather than at night, and fences will be put up around the site “for health and safety reasons”.
David Welch, a Surrey Crescent resident whose children attend Gray Lynn School, felt “really upset” after being verbally abused by the protesters.
âOn Wednesday I heard a lot of people screaming outside, I looked and [they] stood in the middle of the street, yelled at people and insulted them. “
Welch said the demonstrators recognized him and “abused” and “threatened” him.
“These people who showed up on Wednesday are known public pests, they don’t represent that community,” he said.
âThey don’t even live in the area so there’s no reason why they should object. There is nothing sensible about that. “
Welch said he fully supported the Auckland Transport project and described the implementation of the traffic hill as “exactly what should happen”.
“This is a dangerous and busy road and it is very important to slow the speed of cars in an area where there are many children.”
The changes are part of Auckland Transport’s Safe School Speeds program working with schools to make school zones safer.
However, protester Gael Baldock said she thought the shortened design of the traffic hill was “incredibly dangerous” for vehicles.
“Those are the things that ruin people’s suspensions,” she said.
Baldock felt that Auckland Transport had not consulted the locals enough before building the traffic hill.
Baldock said she did not consider the protesters’ behavior to be “abusive”.
Auckland city councilor Pippa Coom tweeted Thursday evening that the incident was “a new low” for the demonstrators who “abused workers” on the ground.
Speak with Stuff she said she was angry about the work stoppage, which would add further costs.
“I find it unreasonable for someone to protest against a security program,” she said, describing the unpeaceful nature of the protest as “disgusting.”
“Abusing people in their workplace is completely unacceptable behavior.”
She said the installation, which is a rehearsal, was “really, really well communicated with the community” and the work would cause “very little inconvenience.”
Auckland Transport’s other changes to school zone safety will also take place on Browning St, Firth St and Selbourne St, including the addition of school zone markers, drop off and pick-up zones and street art to warn drivers they are in close to an Auckland transport school and curb extension are located.
Stewart Reynolds, chairman of the Gray Lynn Schools Committee, said the school “thoroughly” supports Auckland Transport’s efforts to keep local students safe.