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School district listens as Pasco parents say wall and busy road makes bus stop unsafe

6:11 PM, Aug 15, 2013   |    comments
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New Port Richey, Florida -- The school year starts in a few days and parents expect some glitches, especially with school buses, but one New Port Richey neighborhood is stunned by what is blocking their children from their school bus stop.

"It says Cross Bayou and Leisure Lane Road as the bus stop location," says Lea Immel. 

However, she and other neighborhood parents say there's a concrete problem with this bus stop -- a wall. 

The wall stretches down to the next street and parents say kids would have to walk down a narrow ally to get around it. 

Brandy Frank worries about her 8-year-old son. 

"First [of all], you can't see through it -- it's not cut or clean. I've walked it and found needles and bottles," she says.

About a dozen kids riding the bus would then have to walk back up along Cross Bayou Boulevard to their bus stop at Leisure Lane.

As Frank looks over the wall she says, "It's less than three feet wide, no walkway, no nothing. When you stand there, even adults feel the cars fly by."

Frank also says the bus stop has no room for kids or parents. 

"I can't park here to pick him up if it's raining. I'm not going to park across the street have them run across the road, that would be stupid and dangerous for them."

Immel's 10-year-old son, Ben, worries about his own safety saying if someone lost control of their car him and other students would get hurt. 

"Anybody in their right mind would know this is not safe. They didn't come, they didn't look," says Frank.

Immel complained to the Pasco School District's Transportation Department who told her to wait a couple of weeks. 

"They said we can't do anything for two weeks. It's unacceptable to wait for two weeks."

10 News took the problem to the district's transportation director Gary Sawyer.

His response, "The bus stop was placed there in error. I'm going to investigate why but the bus stop is being moved and parents are being contacted."

Sawyer says district policy calls for every bus stop to be visually inspected before it's assigned.

"My question would be why it was placed there in the first place. It should not have been."

Sawyer says parents are getting their old bus stop back a block away at Van Doren and Gulf Drive. Parents say that's all they wanted their old bus stop. 

"I'm happy kids will be safe," says Frank.

"Thank You!" says Immel. She cries but says they are tears of relief. "It takes a load off my matters!"

The question now for school officials and parents is if this bus stop wasn't inspected for safety before being assigned how many other bus stops were assigned without inspection in Pasco County. 10 News will continue to follow this story and the district's investigation.

Isabel Mascarenas

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