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Parents seek changes at local school bus stop where children wait in the dark

Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 7:20 PM CDT
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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) - Some Belton ISD parents are asking for changes to their children’s bus stop at the intersection of FM-439 and Briana Drive.

A video taken one morning by Jessica Juarez, who lives across the street from the bus stop, shows the elementary school students standing in the dark at the intersection as cars zoom by, lit only by the headlights of their parents' vehicles.

“People are supposed to be going 55 but they’re not,” Juarez said.

“They’re coming through here at 70 miles an hour and it takes one millisecond to look away and not pay attention and you’re in somebody’s yard or home or (hitting) children at a bus stop.”

Briana Drive is a private road of the Lake View Mobile Home Park.

FM-439 however is under the control of the Texas Department of Transportation.

TxDOT said it is mainly responsible for safety and lightning on interstates and major highway interchanges and ramps.

However, it can install street lighting on non-interstate roads that meet certain criteria relating to such things as traffic volume and historic safety problems.

The department also said the process of getting streetlights would require coordination between multiple agencies to ensure that the long-term cost of the lighting is funded by the appropriate agency.

School districts do not coordinate with TxDOT to determine where school buses are placed.

In a statement to KWTX, Andrew Forrester, Belton ISD’s director of transportation services, said it is common to have bus stops on major roads in areas where children live on private roads or in cul-de-sacs with no safe way for buses to exit.

“In those cases, stops are designed near intersections or driveways where kids are instructed to wait well back away from the busy road and only approach the road when the bus has stopped traffic for loading and unloading,” Forrester said.

“In providing a service to families that live in areas with limited infrastructure, our transportation department partners with parents and students to provide safety best practices. We encourage any families who have concerns about their stops to contact transportation services.”

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