Meadowbrook parents have concerns on school bus route

Meadowbrook parents are raising concern with School District No. 6 about the bus stop on Thompson Road.

Lynne Luker says the bus used to come all the way to the end of Thompson Road, where it could then go around a cul de sac to turn around.

This year, the bus only goes as far as Bussey Road, meaning students who live further down Thompson Road must make their own way to the stop. For Luker’s kids, ages 11 and 14, that’s one and a half kilometers.

There are two problems with that, Luker says. It’s not the distance she worries about, but that there is what she calls a dangerous corner they must navigate, in the dark at 7:30 in the morning.

She also says that with the stop now at Bussey Road, the bus has to turn around in a blind spot.

“I would be fine if it wasn’t pitch black outside at that time of day,” she said. “You can barely see the kids on the road. Where the bus turns now, it’s a blind spot to turn around. There are kids on both sides of the road. It’s dangerous at Bussey.

“I’ve written my MLA, talked to Paul Carriere (District No. 6 Superintendent) and Steve Jackson (Director of Operations, SD6) but no on is doing anything about it.”

Luker says she is driving her kids to the bus stop each morning because she fears for their safety on the road, in the dark.

Another parent, Judy Chorney, agrees.

“We were dismayed to learn, in June, that the School District was changing the bus route, and that the children would be expected to walk all the way to the main highway. From our place, that is 1.6 km and for others much further, on a road that has no shoulders for quite a ways.

“Over the summer, the policy was changed, and the children are now required to walk to Bussey Rd. For some, the distance is not a concern. For others, further down Thompson Rd. the children still have to contend with the dangerous blind corner on a very steep incline.

Consequently, some parents have to drive their kids to the bus so that they know they are safe.

“The main highway understandably is the first ploughed, Thompson Rd sometimes is two or three days before the plough can come down. During this time it is even more treacherous for the children, as the snow is deep for them to walk in, and even harder for motorists to see them on the blind corner which is slippery and people often spin out. Of course this is at 7:30 am when very dark.

“We have signed petitions in the summer and know that many parents have written letters and called to ask that the bus route could be returned to the way it was before. “But to date we have had no success.

“The bus drivers tell us that it would take no more than 2 or 3 minutes to go down to the end of Thompson Road, pick up all the kids and carry on.

“We simply do not understand why the safety of the children is not the School District’s first priority.”

A number of other parents also shared their concerns.

“I am very concerned about the situation with the bus for children on Thompson Road,” said Shelley McInroy. “The turn around at Bussey Road is unsafe. I am unhappy that children are having to walk sometimes in the dark and there was a lot of traffic on our road. Many people drive too fast, and children aren’t always aware of what’s around them although we do our best to teach them. In addition we have a lot of wildlife in our neighbourhood. I am not happy with the idea of our children walking on this road when we have often bears and cougars in our neighborhood. Let’s go back to having the bus pick children up as it should be and a safer place for the bus to be turning around.”

I have concerns about the bus turning around in bussey road .. it’s a busy road at that time in the am and no where to park to drop kids off and for kids to stand as the parents try to drop theirs off,” Rhonda Olsen. “It’s dark kids are confused as the bus tries to turn around with vehicles everywhere.. the end of the road of Thompson at the dead end would be safer for everyone. it should be just a straight stop not a turn around point.”

In my experience driving to work several mornings I have not seen children until the last second because I don’t see them,” said Rachelle Rheult. “I drive super slow in order to avoid hitting someone. This is extremely dangerous the bus should go to the end of Thompson road as before . This never happened when it did.”

However, Carriere says bus stops are all assessed for safety before they are implemented.

“It is true that the students who live farther up Thompson have to make their way to Bussey to get to the closest stop, but this situation is similar to many other situations in our School District,” he said. “We do not provide bus service right to the doorstep — it is a system where stops are placed so that we can have timely, efficient service. There are a lot of factors to consider in placing stops, but safety is always first. Based on the complaint the parent made to us, the situation was reassessed and was confirmed as a safe and appropriate stop.”

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