School officals will change 'dangerous' bus stop

Safety expert says bus stop is major safety concern

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - As a result parents' concerns that a bus stop at the corner of Beaver Street and Monte Road was dangerous, Duval County school officials have decided to move the bus tops effective Monday.

Parents told Channel 4 the bus drops their kids off and the children have to walk along a busy road that has no sidewalk.

Parents said Tuesday they wanted to see a change, and they want that change to happen fast before one of the kids gets hurt.

Larry Moody told Channel 4 that his stomach is in knots over where his 8-year-old granddaughter, Callie, is being picked up and dropped off by the school bus.

"Fear mostly, you know, what can happen. Not only for her, but for the safety of the other kids too," said Moody. "A semi can go by and almost blow you over."

Moody said that he'd like to see the pick-up and drop-off location moved just 200 yards down the road to Middle Road and Old Plank Road. He said it would be safer for the kids and give worried parents some peace of mind.

"A better location, like I said, the distance, what they have to walk and where they have to walk," said Moody.

According to the National Safety Council, the most dangerous part of a school bus ride is getting on and off the bus, and that's something Moody said he and other parents will continue to work to change. Until then, he's urging parents to keep themselves and their kids safe.

"Those that walk them up here, keep a good watch on them and make sure they don't get too close to the road," said Moody.

Channel 4 Safety Expert Ken Jefferson came out to the bus stop Wednesday to check out the safety concerns.

"This is a very dangerous situation," said Jefferson. "I personally would not want to walk on this road. Forget 300 yards, I wouldn't want to walk 3 yards."

The area is a two-lane, high-traffic zone and doesn't even have sidewalks for kids to walk on. Parents told Channel 4 the kids who have to walk home from the stop are walking nearly a half-mile home on the busy highway.

"This is an accident waiting to happen unfortunately, and I hate to say it that way, God forbid that an accident will happen. This is a great opportunity for whoever is in charge of zoning for bus stops and the safety and well-being of children that it's a great opportunity for them to be proactive," said Jefferson. "God forbid there's a distracted driver who's not paying attention to them and run off the road. All it takes is one little overt gesture by a driver to run off the road and this could be a very, very sad situation over here."

Jefferson offered some advice to parents dealing with the dangerous stop on Beaver at Monte.

"They need to act on it now. If the school board is moving too slow, then the parents need to put the pressure on the superintendent. Have him look into this bus stop so it can be changed for the safety and well-being of our children," said Jefferson. "It's an easy fix in my mind, 300 yards that way will eliminate the problem totally."

Larry Moody told Channel 4 that he's called the school district and the transportation department for the district. A spokesperson for transportation department called Moody back and told him the problem would be fixed after Labor Day. Moody pointed out that Labor Day has come and gone and still nothing's been done to change the dangerous bus stop situation.

The school district told Channel 4 on Wednesday that they had no record of Moody's calls.

On Thursday, Duval County School District spokeswoman said that staff went to the stop and spoke with Moody.  As a result of that visit, they decided to relocate the stop to the corner of Beaver Street and Old Plank Road.

"The walk to the stop appears to be the main issue, not crossing the street to the bus," Oliver told Channel 4. "(Moody) told us who he spoke with here in the department and it was the coordinator who is on vacation, so I wasn't able to ask him about it yesterday. Mr. Moody seemed pleased."

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