Courtesy of: By Amanda Cregan - Staff Writer @ PhillyBurbs.com
A group of Milford parents say that their children are being put at risk each time they board the school bus.
At its meeting Thursday night, the Quakertown Community School Board grappled with a decision to move a school bus stop off a busy road and into a neighborhood. It’s a move that some officials fear might lead more parents to petition for a school bus stop change.
In January, a group of about 30 parents from the Streamview Way neighborhood first approached the school board, seeking to move their kids’ bus stop. The bus stop is at the intersection of Streamview Way and Allentown Road.
With a speed limit of 45 mph, Allentown Road has limited visibility and heavy truck traffic, and vehicles often come speeding down the busy state road, said parent Brett Bauz.
A number of drivers use that stretch of Allentown Road as a shortcut between Route 309 and Route 663 in the Quakertown area.
This month, parents met with board leaders and presented them with evidence that the bus stop was dangerous, including several state police reports that cite drivers for reckless driving after swerving around the school bus as elementary school students are getting on the bus.
“There’s clearly something going on with our bus stop,” said Bauz, of Streamview Way, on Thursday.
Noting that the Milford bus stop is generating more drivers’ citations than all of the bus stops across the district annually, board member Paul Stepanoff agreed that a change is needed.
Parents want the school bus to loop around the horseshoe-shaped neighborhood and pick up the kids at a stop inside the development rather than stop in the middle of traffic on Allentown Road.
But board member Kelly VanValkenburgh urged caution. “I don’t find any credence that the neighborhood is any more a safer haven than the mouth of the neighborhood,” she said, arguing that children’s safety might also be at risk if they are playing in their neighborhood street or running to catch the bus. “People are definitely trading one set of risks for another set of risks.”
The Streamview development is one of 23 Quakertown school bus stops on Allentown Road.
VanValkenburgh also reminded the board that approving a bus stop move for one neighborhood could prove to have a domino effect, where other groups of parents ask school officials to allow the school bus to loop through their neighborhoods. It eventually could lead to more fuel costs, longer bus rides and a change in school scheduling, she warned.
The board agreed to further review the matter and consider revising the policy for changing a bus stop, which might include requiring a specific number of police citations for motorists who violate school bus traffic stop laws before a school bus stop change is made.
“We will review it in the policy committee, which may or may not result in any action,” said school board President Bob Smith, regarding Streamview Way.