Feb 132014

LaToya Cantrell

LaToya Cantrell

After a 6-year-old was killed by a passing car while waiting for a school bus earlier this month, New Orleans city and school leaders debated on Wednesday ways to make the school-bus system safer and more efficient, according to a report by Della Hasselle of Mid-City Messenger. Orleans Parish School Board president Nolan Marshall Jr. raised the question of a unified school bus system across the city, while others urged a greater use of public transit.

“We have a lot of work to do on transportation safety, we know that, as long as kids are waiting on the bus in busy intersections, crossing four-lane highways and walking on roads with speed limits up to 40 miles per hour,” said City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, who called the special meeting. “We have a real problem here, and we need to do everything we possibly can to provide real solutions.”

    Have the school bus drivers re-route or move their bus pickup and drop off locations on busy streets like this, to a nearby residential side street that has far less traffic in the first place.
    Not every school bus stop is on a busy street so it will not be that many bus stops that are moved to residential streets. If it’s really dangerous, maybe the school bus can travel to BOTH SIDES of the busy street and have two (2) separate bus stops where the kids won’t have to cross the street to begin with.

    Allocate a little more money to the school bus budget to make these school bus boarding stops to be within these residential streets permanently instead of trying “to squeeze every dollar out of a school bus budget” by making transfers on these busy streets just to
    (a) save as much gas as possible,
    (b) minimize the number of bus stops and
    (c) minimize total travel time.

    The current way these school bus routes are setup does not take into account the the safety of kids arriving and departing from these boarding and drop off locations.

    If you add all the money needed for new and current
    (1) school crossing zones,
    (2) school zone flashing lights and maintenance,
    (3) the daily crossing guard and support personnel

    you will see the above money could be used to move and increase the number of bus stops to a safer residential locations as mentioned above.

    And this include those school crossing closest to schools. Sure the trip is short, but a few school buses can act as a shuttle. Plus, it would help parents find parking in residential areas as opposed to some of the really busy streets that get totally congested from parents waiting for their kids or dropping them off close to the school. This shuttle service is similar to what is used at big events to reduce congestion.

    The fact there are even Speed Camera for school zones shows that some of these school bus routes and stop locations are inherently dangerous due to busy street traffic. In fact, just adding and moving the bus stops to residential areas is safer for everyone to begin with, kids, parents, buses and other drivers. This is also not to mention the traffic jams these school buses create when stopped in heavy traffic to pick up kids or let them off.

  • jexni

    No, but we could make them safer if we returned to neighborhood schools. We could stop busing kids all over the city and wasting valuable resources on unnecessary transportation.

    Also, it is hard to claim this is a “real problem” based upon one incident. And how would it be solved by changing the entity that operates the system and makes the profit?