LOCKPORT, NY (WIVB) – Eight Lockport elementary school students used to get picked up in front of their houses on a side street. But for the last six weeks, they have had a new bus route.
One of those students, Juliana Reynolds’ new bus stop is Upper Mountain Road, which is a 55 mile per hour stretch of road. “It’s very nervous standing on the street because so many cars go by and they’re so fast,” said the ten year-old.
There is about six feet of pavement on the shoulder of the road but parents are concerned about what will happen once the winter hits. “Us parents form a safety net to keep the children back,” said Lockport parent Erin Carr. “Once it’s icy and there’s snowbanks that’s what scares me.”
The issue came up at Wednesday night’s school board meeting. The issue began last November when one family complained that the school bus didn’t come down their street in Lockport. The district says a task force was set up and determined that children on 31 other streets who were getting picked up in front of their houses now have to gather at the corner. The district says the changes were made in an attempt to be fair.
“They were talking about being fair and equitable and there’s no mention of being safe. How can it be fair when it’s so unsafe?,” wondered Carr.
Lockport City School District Superintendent Deborah Coder explained the safety measures they took to concerned parents. “We drove the neighborhoods, we used Google maps, we used Google satellite, we did child safety zones,” she said.
“That’s not an okay answer because these are our children,” said parent Sonya Zang. “We are sending our children to school and we want it to be a safe place,” she said.
One by one parents came to the School Board with photos and stories of dangerous close calls already. “We can name at least ten times that my son has almost been hit by a car,” said April Strong.
“She came home today telling me that she had to jump out of the way, Mom, that car almost hit me,” said Gabrielle Lockwood.
Nicole Fragale says she’s willing to accept a change in the bus stop but wants a safer option than now. “We have no problem taking our children to the bus stop we are simply just asking for a safer spot,” she said.
At Wednesday night’s school board meeting, the district told parents it will have a third party consultant to take a second look at the plan.