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BATTLE OF THE BUS STOP: District compromises with Gateway parents after 8 months

Parents finally convince the Lee County School District to improve the safety of students and move the stop off of busy Treeline Avenue.
bus stop moved
Posted at 9:23 PM, May 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-09 18:19:50-04

Update Thursday, May 9:
The School District of Lee County reached out to FOX 4'S Ella Rhoades and said their statement was dated, compared to the letter from the Transporation Review Committee. They said the bus stop's new location is not temporary and will remain on Silver Ridge Boulevard "unless future reasoning requires it to move."

Original Reporting ==================

They've been working on it for 8 months.

For 8 months, parents in the Marina Bay community of Gateway have pushed the Lee County School District to move a Treeline Avenue bus stop to a safer location with less traffic.

For 8 months, the district has refused.

I first learned about this 4 months into the stalemate. Residents said they had petitioned in November to move the bus stop to a community bus shelter that had been built years before.

"Treeline Avenue is a very busy road," Julie Henderson told me, when I first spoke to her in January.

The district denied them once in March, but after telling their story a couple times, their second try ended in success: the district was compromising and moving the stop.

India Palencia has been leading the effort all these months.

"Very exciting, very thrilling, relieving thing to hear," is how, she says, the Marina Bay community received the news, delivered by letter May 7 from the school district's Transportation Review Committee.

transportation letter
Letter from Lee County School District's Transportation Review Committee to parents that the bus stop will move.

"You were out here reporting and following up on it. If the community hadn't known, it probably would've gotten swept under the rug," Palencia told me.

Another parent, Jennifer Kearns, said, "It's been a really, really long fight, longer than it should've been, but we're dealing with something so important. The safety of a child."

The school district's compromise with parents has the school bus pick up students at the 25 mile per hour sign on Silver Ridge Boulevard, about 200 feet from Treeline Avenue. The bus then drops them off near the Marina Bay guardhouse.

When I requested an interview with the school district, they sent me this brief statement:

"The School District is temporarily moving the stop for the remainder of the school year so a more permanent solution can be achieved."
Rob Spicker, Lee County School District

The letter from May 7 didn't mention anything about the bus stop being "temporary," so there are some lingering questions we have to answer.

The district told me bus stops for next year will be decided later this summer.

Marina Bay residents say they'll be there to make sure the district follows through... and so will Gateway's Community Correspondent.