Council addresses bus backup concerns

By ANDREA POTEET
Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE — A backup of school buses on a local street has residents there concerned.

Residents of 22nd Street came before the City Council on Monday to voice their concerns about the dangers caused by a backlog of buses idling on the street. Two of the residents, Carol Barry and Gerald Gnida, brought two petitions bearing the names of 15 residents from the street.

One requests that the council reconsider using the street as a staging area for buses headed to Madison Regional Training Center, 2011 Grove. The second expresses the residents’ anger that they were not notified of a traffic law change that took effect Feb. 15 that made the street a two-way street.

Barry said the buses, which carry students from 17 Downriver school districts to the school for special-needs students, inhibit many residents from pulling out of their driveways and tend to speed down the streets. Residents also have complained of exhaust smells preventing them from using certain rooms in their houses and have noted that some of the bus drivers use obscene language or gestures when asked to move their bus.

“If they widened the road, I wouldn’t have a problem with it,” Gnida said. “It would allow us to come out. Right now, it’s just too tight for everybody to get out of their driveway.”

Police Chief Dan Grant said the buses were rerouted onto 22nd Street after a Jan. 20 meeting between police personnel and school district representatives to prevent backup on Fort Street.

“As cars were coming around the curve near Quarry and the Grove area, these buses were stopped completely in the roadway, and we had quite a few near misses,” he said. “Something had to be done immediately for the safety of these students.”

Grant said the Police Department knew the change would create congestion on the street, but that officials tried to come up with the best solution to the issue. He said the problem on 22nd is compounded by the fact that many students getting off the buses are in wheelchairs and cannot exit as quickly as other children.

Students generally do not get off the buses while they are parked on 22nd, but it creates a backlog on the street while buses wait to unload.

“They’re there for awhile,” Grant said of the buses. “It’s not a matter of kids that can run off the bus and just run off into the school.”

Traffic Sgt. Jamie Pouliot said the route was changed this year. Buses formerly had used an alley behind Danny’s Foods, on the corner of Fort and Grove, as a staging area, but it was impairing deliveries to the business.

Pouliot said he asked officials at the school to advise bus drivers to use Quarry as their primary route. He also said officers are monitoring the area.

The council discussed several options including consolidating the busses, most of which run with only a few students, and asking school boards who send students to the school to help pay for the cost of widening the street. They also urged residents who have encountered problems with bus drivers to report the issues to police.

Council members requested that Police Department review the issue further.

(Contact Andrea Poteet at apoteet@bewickpublications.com.)

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