Talk Gets Tense over Proposed Long Elementary Bus Routes
Despite requests from neighbors for a new plan, the school district will recommend running buses through the subdivision next to Long Elementary at next week's board of education meeting.
A tense, hour-long conversation between Lindbergh Schools administration and neighbors of the Doercrest subdivision yielded no clear compromise on Long Elementary School’s new traffic plan.
Lindbergh School District residents, especially those with homes in the Doercrest neighborhood, disagreed with the plan to funnel buses through the neighborhood, calling it unsafe, poorly planned and problematic.
“This is not just about ‘Not in my backyard,’” said Mark Ashpole, a subdivision resident with a background in engineering. “We’re trying to get you to see through our eyes that this is a bad situation.”
Residents brought their concerns to Superintendent Jim Simpson, who said he believes the traffic plan is the safest and most effective option for the elementary.
“We run in subdivisions every day,” Simpson said about the bus system district-wide. “You know what this district is. You know it’s nothing but a maze of subdivisions, everywhere. I’m telling you, from my perspective, this is a really nice situation compared to many, many, many daily situations our buses are operating in.”
The traffic plan for the elementary puts five school buses turning into the school from Sappington Road across from Banyon Tree Court and exiting on Doercrest Drive. The buses will eventually exit on Eddie & Park Road, with two turning to the right and three to the left, but neighbors say sending buses into the neighborhood will cause traffic and safety problems.
SEE PREVIOUS STORY: Long Elementary's New Traffic Plan Irks Neighbors
Simpson plans to submit the current traffic plan to the board of education at Tuesday’s meeting. (Sign up for the Sunset Hills-Crestwood Patch newsletter to get updates on this story.)
Simpson said he believes the impact of this plan on the neighboring subdivision will be very low—not much more than a line of buses driving back and forth at the beginning and end of the school day. A gate will shut the bus exit off from car traffic during the rest of the day.
Residents are asking for a new plan—any alternative that keeps traffic on Sappington Road, a four-lane signalized road, instead of bringing it into the neighborhood.
“If were going to spend our tax dollars, I would expect you guys to look at another alternative,” said Frank Ruzicka, who lives in the subdivision.
Simpson said he would not initiate a new plan and will endorse the current proposal to the board of education.
While the meeting seemed to leave both neighbors and administrators more firmly planted in their opposing perspectives, Simpson reiterated his gratitude for the families who support the district with their money and time.
“When its in your neighborhood, its personal,” he said. “Were trying to be the best neighbor we possibly can for you.”