State lawmaker looking into bus stop concerns
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CAPE CORAL - For weeks parents have come to us with concerns about their kids bus stop. The concerns were heightened after a teen was hit by a truck waiting for the bus last week.
The concerns have caught the attention of Florida State Rep. Matt Caldwell (R-Fort Myers).
"I think it's something we need to take a look at," said Caldwell. "I wasn't aware that there was an issue until you'd showed me some of these resident concerns."
Concerns coming from parents at more than a half dozen bus stops in private communities in Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Lehigh Acres.
"I can see a child getting hurt," said on parent in the Royal Tee gated community in Cape Coral.
"I just feel we are destined for something bad," said another in Cross Creek in Fort Myers.
Parents say their kids are walking more than 1.5 miles to catch the bus only to wait alongside busy roads.
The Lee County School District's transportation director says for too many years they have been ignoring state statute and their own policy which states public school buses do not go into gated communities.
This year the school board is enforcing the rules across the board.
Fox 4 showed Caldwell our previous stories so he could see what parents have been telling us.
"I certainly want to see what ways we can help to alleviate those concerns of those parents," said Caldwell. "If the roadway's not safe for children walking for a school bus than how safe is it for pedestrians in general?"
Caldwell says he's willing to look into changes the statutes to allow districts more flexibility in entering gated communities.
He says he wants to hear directly from parents who have concerns.
"[To see] what we can do to work with the school district," said Caldwell, "and try to resolve it as best we can."
If you have concerns and want to voice them to Rep. Caldwell you can call his Fort Myers office at (239) 533-2411 or his Tallahassee office at (850) 488-1541.
In the meantime, school board member Don Armstrong has called for a transportation safety audit to be conducted.