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Lockport bars school buses on dead-end roads – with one exception

LOCKPORT – The Lockport City School District will enforce its policy in the new school year against school buses making pickups at individual homes on dead-end roads and cul-de-sacs, Board of Education Vice President David M. Nemi said this week.

Superintendent Michelle T. Bradley confirmed that the board re-examined the policy and decided to require children who live on such roads to gather at the nearest intersection for bus pickup and drop-off.

“It will be very interesting to see how they handle the upcoming complaints from parents across the district,” said Jonathan May, a parent on Young Road, a dead-end road which lost door-to-door bus service in the middle of the last school year.

The board acted on revisions to its 1997 bus route policy at a recent meeting, but Nemi said, “It really did not change the policy. It was just semantics. It reinforced what the policy is now.”

Nemi said the only exception allowed was for Reger Drive, a residential road off South Transit Road, which is Route 78. Door-to-door bus service will be permitted there because of the heavy traffic on Transit.

Bradley said, “The board was very concerned about that particular part because of the four lanes [on Transit] and the speed.”

Bradley said a special-education student who lives on a dead-end or cul-de-sac would still be allowed to be picked up and dropped off at home, but only if the child’s individual education plan calls for it.

The issue of school bus service for dead ends and cul-de-sacs blew up last winter, when the district halted such service on Young Road, a dead-end road off Sunset Drive. That resulted from a complaint by a mother on Sebastian Drive, about a mile away, which was not given door-to-door service.

Bradley said the board conducted a lengthy investigation of the bus service on such roads. “What we discovered was, there were buses going down one of those roads that shouldn’t have,” the superintendent said.

According to Bradley, the main policy revision was, “Any significant changes to transportation routes must be brought before the Board of Education first.”

That didn’t happen in the Sebastian Drive-Young Road case, where the change was ordered by the district office.

May asked, “What does this policy save the district? Does it save money? Does it save time? It had better save them something, since they are creating a district-wide hazard.”

May questioned the Reger Drive exception, noting that the speed limit on South Transit Road is 45 mph, while the speed limit on two-lane Sunset Drive, where Young Road students will have to stand, is 50 mph.

He said that if a child is injured at one of the cul-de-sac intersections, “There is certainly ample public record of the Board of Education’s responsibility for it.”