Parents say bus stop change puts kids in harm’s way

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) – Parents are raising big concerns in the Town of Lockport Tuesday night where they say their children’s safety is at risk.

The district has moved their children’s bus stop to a busy intersection where there’s little room to stand. The Niagara County Sheriff’s Office says there were dozens of accidents last year near the corner of Sunset Drive and Young Road.

Five families who live on Young Road have been expressing concerns to administrators and the school board since November. They worry for their children’s safety every morning they send them to school.

“We’re very angry at this,” said Jon May.

“It worked fine for 20 years then all the sudden a parent complained,” said Candace Fulford.

The change to the bus stop started with a complaint from another parent who lives a mile and a half away on Sebastian Drive in Lockport. She was upset her kid had to walk to a bus stop while the children who live on Young Road get picked up and dropped off by the bus right at their front doors.

“It was an ideal situation for the safety of the kids and for all the other families on the road,” said James Hildreth.

Hildreth lives with his family on Young Road, and he’s also a sergeant with the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office. He and other parents take issue with how the Lockport City School District addressed the complaint.

“To have them say, stay out here on the roadway, that’s not safe for them. We don’t teach that to our children,” Hildreth said.

The district created a group bus stop at the end of Young Road, just like they have on Sebastian Drive. But parents argue it is safer and more residential on Sebastian Drive and Niagara Street, which they say have less traffic.

Meanwhile, the Young Road and Sunset Drive intersection has cars constantly zooming past the new bus stop. There are no sidewalks, so the children have to gather on the street until the bus stops for them on Sunset Drive.

The parents say they have proof it’s dangerous. A photo, taken January 24th, shows a car that slid out of control right through the spot where the kids wait for the bus.

“If our kids had been there about 45 minutes earlier, they could have been killed,” Fulford said.

“A picture’s worth a thousand words. It’s a cliché, but it’s true. We thought, well this has to make our case. This is exactly what we’ve been warning them against. And here it is happening. And nothing,” May said.

The district denied the parents’ appeal saying the current bus situation is “equitable.”

“We haven’t gotten anywhere. We haven’t gotten anywhere with them,” Hildreth said.

But the Young Road parents say making kids stand on the edge of a road that saw 47 accidents last year is anything but fair.

Lockport administrators did not give an interview on camera, but over the phone the superintendent told News 4′s Lou Raguse they will continue to review procedures. But at this point, the current arrangement will stand, because it’s fair.

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