Bus Stop Safety

Bus Stop Safety
Posted on 04/05/2019
Bus Stop Safety

Dear School District of Lee County Families,

Last week one of our families lost their 8-year old daughter in a tragic accident at a bus stop. Earlier this year, another family suffered the same loss when their 12-year old daughter was hit and killed while walking her sister to the bus stop.

While these accidents were the cause of drivers not paying attention, they rightly raise questions about the safety of school bus stops and walking areas. Over the last week, hundreds of you have reached out, asking how to make stops safer and offering solutions.

I want to let you know that we hear you. In the last few days, we have met with representatives from each law enforcement agency in Lee County as well as a team from the City of Cape Coral. We hope to engage other municipalities in the coming days.

To give you some background, The School District of Lee County has 6,958 bus stops. We have 753 routes on which we transport 49,231 riders. Our buses make 35,599 stops a day. Since August, we have had to make 16,149 stop changes. The majority of those are parents wishing to move their children from one established stop to another. However, we have had to physically change stop locations due to parent requests, student mobility, student growth, construction, and safety concerns like sexual offenders/predators moving into an area. It is a herculean task.

I know many people say that if we simply got rid of school choice that would help, and to a certain extent, it would. In the next few years, we will move to an elementary proximity plan where parents will be able to choose from the closest 4-6 schools from their home. This will help with transportation and possibly school start times. However, infrastructure issues would still exist.

Each year Smart Growth America releases its Dangerous by Design study, which ranks state and metropolitan areas around the country using a “Pedestrian Danger Index” (PDI). Based on PDI, Cape Coral/Fort Myers ranks as the 8th most dangerous metro area for walking in the United States.

The reality is, we need to work together as a community to make our roads and streets safer, not just for students, but for all pedestrians and bikers. We plan to be a leader in that charge.

This week we launched an updated page on our District website devoted to walkers and bus riders with videos, safety tips and information for parents to share with their students: www.leeschools.net/safety. In addition, we created an email address where you can send ideas: busstopsafety@leeschools.net.

On Tuesday, April 16, we will hold a Town Hall Meeting focusing on bus stop safety from 6pm – 7:30pm. It will be held in the Board Room at the District Office (2855 Colonial Boulevard, Fort Myers), however, you can participate from your home, as we will stream it live on the District’s YouTube and Facebook accounts. You can submit questions using the above email address, or in the comments section of the Facebook feed.

Keeping our students, staff, and schools safe is of highest priority and the responsibility of everyone in our community. We are thankful for our partnerships with law enforcement and local governments in this endeavor and thank you for your ongoing support to make our schools and your students as safe as possible.

Sincerely,

Dr. Greg Adkins
Superintendent