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Safety campaign a hit with pedestrians

Mar 18th, 2009 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

A MEDIA slagging handed out to Wellington City Council this week for hiring actors to reward safe pedestrians does not appear to accord with public opinion.

“We’ve had absolutely nothing but positive comments,” claims WCC transport safety co-ordinator Michelle Stevenson.

The Dominion Post article – which criticised WCC for splashing out on acting troupe The Improvisors during the tough economic times – was understandable given that people are worried about the economy, she says.

The $10,000 council campaign is aimed at reducing the number of pedestrian accidents and involves the performers – dressed in school uniforms – handing out lollipops and cookies to those who cross safely at busy intersections.

“It was probably a natural direction for them [the newspaper] to head in, but I think down here people are very supportive of the campaign.

“Everyone’s worried about the economic climate and maybe more likely to be walking and have more on their minds, so something as simple as crossing the road becomes even more important.

“While the vast majority of Wellingtonians know to look left and right before crossing the road, many people are easily distracted by the increasing use of mobile phones and personal music devices.”

Members of the public smiled as the performers gave tips on when to cross and shouted encouragement to those crossing.

Street patroller Ian Harcourt says it has been very enjoyable for the team.

“People are walking along with their ‘I’m on my lunch break’ faces on and we give them something and they smile.

“I’d pick the person coming across who would be least likely to smile, it tended to be older men, and they would just light up at the fact that they were getting a free lollipop.”

Between 2004 and 2008 there were 417 pedestrian injuries, with four fatalities, in Wellington city and 176 of those were within the CBD.

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is a multi-media journalist and Whitireia graduate specialising in video, audio, web 2.0, technology, photography, editing and Photoshop. After graduating from Whitireia, and a brief stint in teaching for the school, he moved on to working for Stuff.co.nz.
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