Robin and Frances Abbott have seen vehicles speeding up and down Whanganui's Polson St for close to 10 years - and they had enough.

The couple live on the street where 13-year-old Keanu Josephs-Ranginui died after a high-speed crash into a tree on Wednesday.

It is not the first time the Abbots have seen the remnants of a crash on their road, but it was the first time a crash had been fatal.

"It's a race track, the speed they travel down here, if they went through your fence, which they would like match wood, they would actually hit your house," Robin said.


"The school being so close is just diabolical. If kids try and cross the road here, I've seen them, they're putting their lives at risk."

The Abbotts were watching TV when they heard an "almighty boom". They looked outside and saw the driver of the stolen silver Mazda Axela running away.

Robin said they had seen a similar crash on the other side of the street years back when a driver had also ran away.

"They're drag-racing and people going home from work, they're in a hurry to get home so they just plant the boot.

"Something has to be done now that somebody has actually died."

The Abbotts suggested better signs, a reduced speed limit and something put in place to force traffic to slow down.

"A proper pedestrian crossing might work, maybe even two, with those humps that go up to it, so that drivers can't go high speed," Robin said.

"But it would be like the flooding we had along here, the council just turn a blind-eye to most of the stuff that's going to cost money down here."


Kathleen Vicelich is the board chairwoman at nearby Castlecliff School. They have been working with other schools in the area and Project Castlecliff to address safety concerns.

Students have been doing surveys to take to Whanganui District Council with the hope of getting better signs and zebra crossings.

"We haven't got proper zebra crossing lines at some of our crossings - Polson St doesn't have any, I don't think Aranui has them, Marie McFarland has nothing," Vicelich said.

"It's been an issue for years."

Representatives from Castlecliff, Aranui Primary School, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori ō Tupoho and Marie McFarland Kindergarten have been working together on the project since last term and hope to make a submission to council by next month.

Vicelich said discussions about zebra crossings have been had with council previously.

"It's Castlecliff, we're not important, that's how the community feels. We've got the little highlighted sign that says 'school' and that's it."

"They know speeding is an issue. I live on Polson St, I hear it all the time. When my kids started school [at Castlecliff], I didn't want them to walk even though we live across the road, for goodness' sake.

"Do you think that maybe they might jump into action now because we've had an accident and an unfortunate death? That's just not right."