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School bus stop change 'dangerous?'

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School bus stop change 'dangerous?'

By Matt Grant. CREATED Sep 20, 2012 - UPDATED: Sep 20, 2012

NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. - From bad to worse.

Parents in one North Fort Myers neighborhood are furious after their children's bus stop moved onto a busy four lane highway.

Since the beginning of the school year dozens of parents, in mostly gated communities, have complained about the bus stop changes this year.

In an effort to save money and cut down on long bus rides the district began following its own policy by moving bus stops out of gated communities and onto busy roads.

But parents in the Lakeville community, a public residential neighborhood, are upset because according to a board member their stop was changed due to safety concerns - and they say it's now even more dangerous.

Back in May, our cameras were rolling when a school bus ran a stop sign in the community. Tess Musielak wasn't surprised since her home surveillance cameras captured the same thing before along with buses appearing to speed.

"How many times would you say you complained to the school district in the last year?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant at the time.

"Probably over 20 times," said Musielak.

Neighbors even put up a sign urging the drivers to slow down. After our story the district changed the stop moving it onto Lakeville Drive and US 41 - a 65 mph, busy four lane highway.

An spray-painted orange line shows where the bus is supposed to stop.

"It's like everyone is being punished," said Musielak, "because the school buses were speeding."

We caught up with Musielak who says she took her 8-year-old daughter off the bus and now drives her to school.

"It's a big inconvenience, gas and everything," said Musielak, who said she'd rather do that than "her get hit by a dump truck."

Amy DePiro thinks kids, including her 10-year-old son, shouldn't have to wait on busy highways to catch the bus.

"By their standards a bus stop in the middle of I-75 would be safe," said DePiro. "All it takes is one distracted driver to run off the road and a tragedy could occur."
 
But things could soon change.

DePiro says the transportation director promised to personally evaluate the stop to see if there are safety issues.

"I'm glad that someone is finally listening to us," said DePiro, "and coming out here to address our concerns."

DePiro says the transportation director will be out at the stop at 7 a.m. Friday.

Board member Don Armstrong, who helped get the stop changed, says he supports moving the stop just inside the community off of US 41.

He does not support moving the stop back to its original location.

Matt Grant
mgrant@fox4now.com
 

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