A Scarborough bus safety committee, formed to review parents’ complaints about new bus stops, decided to move another stop Wednesday.

Of the five stops the committee reviewed, it refused to move three, moved one and delayed a decision on the fifth to wait for more information.

The committee agreed to keep an existing bus stop on Woodfield Drive, where some parents were concerned about the bus stop being too close to a retention pond. According to Business Manager Herb Hopkins, a member of the committee, the district also received calls from parents who were in favor of the stop.

The committee also elected to keep the bus stop at Equestrian Way and Orchard Street. Holly Deery and Monique Gorey, both of Equestrian Way, were asking for the bus to drive down the road.

They felt the stop was too far from their homes and wanted the district to use the stop closer to their home at the Equestrian Way-Steeplechase Drive intersection. The district has been using the stop for 11 years, Deery said.

Hopkins said the distance fell within the bus stop policy guidelines and there was no safety issue. “There wasn’t a traffic issue we could see except for neighborhood traffic,” he said.

Deery was not swayed by the committee’s claim that they could only change stops based on safety issues.

“That’s what a bus stop is all about, is a convenience issue,” she said.

Deery understood why the committee could not change the stop and is planning on writing to the school board about the policy, which forced the changes in the first place.

“I guess it wasn’t the right audience with the issue I had,” she said. “I do expect some convenience with the bus stops.”

The committee chose not to make any changes to the bus stop at the Clay Pits Road-Black Point Road intersection. Parents were asking that the bus travel down Clay Pits Road because the bus was causing traffic to back up while it was stopped.

The committee felt the stop was not dangerous and it was easier for the bus to stop at the intersection rather than trying to pull out onto Black Point Road from Clay Pits Road

The committee did elect to permanently change the bus stop at Heidi’s House, a day care center on Enterprise Drive. The district had first placed the stop away from the facility, at the Route 1 intersection, but moved it in front of the day care center after owner Heidi McDonald complained.

The committee agreed to keep the stop after learning the things were going smoothly. “I was perfectly happy with (the stop) at our sign,” said McDonald.

Finally, no action was taken on a request from residents living on Pillsbury Road and Jones Creek Road to begin picking up children in front of their homes because of safety concerns regarding the neighborhood.

“We need to get some more information from the police department before we make a decision,” Hopkins said.

The committee, which is comprised of bus drivers, residents and school administrators, granted Hopkins and Transportation Director Scott Macomber the authority to change the stops themselves.

Hopkins estimates that the two of them have decided on more than 25 complaints. Those who do not like the pair’s decision may meet with the committee to further review the issue.

This fall the district instituted a new bus policy requiring children in kindergarten through fifth grade to walk up to a quarter-mile to the bus stop and children in grades 6 to 12 walk up to a half-mile to a bus stop. The safety committee was formed as part of the new policy.

The new policy is designed to consolidate bus stops and create centralized locations, which will save the district time and money. Hopkins said the change allowed the district to hire two fewer bus drivers this year and also is saving money on fuel. He estimates the district has saved $80,000 to $85,000 in salaries, benefits and lower fuel usage.

The committee will review the remaining complaints on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 4:30 p.m. at the superintendent’s office at Town Hall.


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