Beekman parents: 1st day back to school chaotic due to district's consolidation of bus stops
Parents in the Chelsea Cove North Development in Beekman said their kids' first day back to school was chaotic because of the Arlington Central School District's decision to consolidate their six bus stops down to just one.
"It was very chaotic this morning. You had at least three dozen cars lined to drop their kids off, at the same time you have other people trying to get through to go to work or wherever," said Matthew Feimer, parent of a middle school student.
Feimer said rain on Tuesday only exacerbated already existing concerns.
He and other parents learned a few weeks ago that the district was moving to one group bus stop for middle and high school students at the entrance of the development, which contains 300 homes and dozens of students.
The stop now lies on Miller Road, which parent Stefanie Weyant said is known for speeding.
"Speeding is an issue. We don't have sidewalks, we have cars parked everywhere. It’s a townhouse community, we don't have driveways," she said.
Weyant said her 10 year-old daughter was nearly hit by a driver exiting the development Tuesday morning.
"A lot of parents started jumping out of their car to try and get the car to stop or slow down," she said. "It was a mess."
The Arlington Central School District tells News 12 that group bus stops were needed this year for secondary students because of a bus driver shortage and to avoid buses running late.
In response to parents' concerns, school officials are now reviewing the bus stop at Chelsea Cove North Development.
The district released the following statement: "The primary role of the Arlington transportation department is to transport students to and from school safely and to arrive and depart school on time. We will continue to do our best to work with the community to achieve these goals. In order to avoid significant delays, the district created group bus stops for secondary students at several apartment complexes throughout the district. Buses continue to make multiple stops to pick up elementary school students. Last year, buses were routinely late for their elementary bus runs due to congestion caused by obstacles such as double parked cars, moving trucks, and garbage trucks that make it difficult for buses to maneuver in tight spaces. The bus driver shortage further exacerbated this issue. Transportation staff have visited the site of the bus stop at the Chelsea Cove North Development and the Director of Transportation and the Assistant Superintendent for Business are currently reviewing the concerns. They have not yet made a determination as to whether changes will be made to this stop. In establishing a pickup point, the district must balance considerations of pupil safety and convenience, routing efficiency and costs. The district follows the New York State Education Department (NYSED), Pupil Transportation Safety Guidance Manual, which states in relevant part: Dead-end streets, loop streets, and cul-de-sacs should be avoided by buses whenever possible. Forcing a bus driver to back up or maneuver the bus through a restricted space significantly increases the chance of an accident and exposes children in the area to greater risk. Bus routes for typical students should not go into dead ends in cul-de-sacs unless there is no alternative. We ask for patience as the transportation staff are continuing to adjust bus routes as new students continue to enroll for the 22/23 school year. We ask for parents' assistance in ensuring that their children safely reach the bus pick-up location."