FORT MYERS, Fla. – Parents are demanding changes to make their neighborhood safer for their children, especially for kids walking to the bus stop in the morning.
Parents living on Orange River Blvd. say there are no street lights or sidewalks on the busy road.
Some mothers said their kids are walking in the dark on the road to catch the bus in the morning. They say it’s dangerous and they want a change.
They say cars speed past their children every day and are scared someone will get hurt.
“It’s very concerning, they shouldn’t be walking in the pitch dark, across a busy road,” said parent, Alicia Vymlatil.
“We have more children in the neighborhood, little ones getting on the bus,” said parent, Emily Perry. “it’s not just me seeing this and fearing their children’s life when they walk down the road where it’s busy in the mornings and evenings.”
Lee County Commissioners say a project is in the works to place sidewalks on Orange River Blvd.
It’s scheduled for design in 2022.
As for street lights, the county says they only put them on major roads in unincorporated areas so in this case, residents will have to tax themselves to pay for them.
The county has a program where residents can add street lights to their property taxes, if they want.
Parents also want their kids' bus stop to be moved.
Perry and Vymlatil say their kids, as young as five years old, have to walk over 200 ft. on the road to get on and off the bus.
To make sure they get there safely, some parents take their kids to the bus stop every day.
“When the bus stops, she has to walk up that small embankment over there and sometimes cars are still coming,” said Vymlatil. “I’ve seen cars come off that road while she’s walking in front of the bus, there is no sidewalk, nothing.”
Parents want the bus stop to be moved to the front of their neighborhood so their young kids don’t have to walk as far.
“I’ve been trying for about three years to change this bus stop to Sunkist Way and it’s been very difficult,” said Perry. “I get in touch with transportation, they tell me I have to get in touch with the school. It goes back and forth. I’ve been going through this the last couple years and this year, they finally said they feel their bus stop is fine and they are not changing it.”
On Wednesday, Lee County School District sent out a transportation team to check out the bus stop.
They say it meets their criteria and is deemed safe.
Spokesperson Rob Spicker says to change a bus stop, it’s a formal process.
Parents have to fill out a request form that’s provided at their child’s school.
Once it’s submitted, the school approves or denies it.
Vymlatil and Perry say they will fill out the form and do everything they can to keep their kids safe.