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BATTLE OF THE BUS STOP: Parents petition Lee Schools to move bus stop on Treeline

Question is about whether bus routes should go inside gated communities
Posted at 7:24 PM, Jan 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-11 19:24:30-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Every morning, as early as 5:30 even in the dark, students arrive at their school bus stop on Treeline Avenue. However, parents want that to change as the road raises safety concerns for their kids.

Parents say drivers on Treeline Ave. go faster than the 45 miles per hour speed limit.

India Palencia lives in the Gateway neighborhood, Marina Bay, where the bus stops for her community’s students.

She said, "I'm not going to put my eight-year-old kid out here by himself to contend with traffic."

That’s why she started this petition, now with over 500 signatures, to get The School District of Lee County to move the bus stop.

Palencia said, "They sit on the curb…there’s no space." She also mentioned the light poles next to the bus stop recently got replaced after a car accident.

At the same intersection, there's a memorial for a deadly crash two years ago as well.

Parents showed the school district their petition and a seven page document about why they believe the bus stop should move.

But, the district made no changes.

In a statement to Fox 4, The School District of Lee County said,

The bus stop at the marina bay community not only meets but surpasses the state-mandated safety requirements. Our transportation department has thoroughly examined and assessed the stop and has engaged in ongoing discussions with parents to reinforce safety while adhering to state guidelines.
Rob Spicker, The School District of Lee County Media Relations

Julie Henderson signed the petition. Her son takes the bus from this stop and wonders what it could look like if the tables were turned.

"I think if their children were standing here, it would be a different story," Henderson said.

According to Marina Bay's HOA President, Ellen Donnell, in 2015 when they built the community, the school board told developers to build a bus stop inside the neighborhood.

"They were instructed to build a bus stop withinside the community for the safety of the children," Donnell said.

For the past nine years, this stop has gone unused while students wait for the bus, outside of Marina Bay.

"I just don't see why anyone would come out on this intersection and at any time of day let alone the busiest times in the mornings and think this is where you should sit an eight-year-old child to sit on a bus," Palencia said.

The HOA and parents said they're waiting to hear back from the district to schedule a hearing to review the bus stop.