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Second bus stop info meeting today at MW library

By Staff | Jun 18, 2011

Parents will have an opportunity to voice their concerns about next year’s school bus routes and stops during a town hall meeting today at the Northwest Regional Library, along with hearing about the progress made in improving bus stop safety.
Councilmember Kevin McGrail and School Board Member Don Armstrong will hold the meeting from 10 a.m. until noon.
The two officials began a group effort that involves the Lee County School District, the city of Cape Coral and the Lee County Electric Cooperative four months ago to seek ways to bring safety to bus stops by implementing bus lights and increasing the number of students at one stop.
Out of the 15,000 bus stops in Lee County, approximately 3,750 were originally lit.
To keep the costs down for the project, McGrail said they looked at bus stops that already had a light and combined nearby bus stops to one location.
McGrail said the routing manager was able to turn the ratio of 30 percent lit bus stops in the Cape into 80 percent without costing tax payers anything. The majority of bus stops that are still dark are in north Cape Coral.
There are approximately 5,000 bus stops in Cape Coral.
McGrail said last week’s town hall meeting was a little disheartening due to only one community member in attendance.
He said they are holding another town hall meeting to provide the community with the opportunity to voice their opinions before the school bus routes are established on June 24.
Once the bus stops are established, he said they can begin hammering out where the rest of the lights can be placed in Cape Coral.
The whole point behind starting this project, McGrail said, is to let the community know that they have traded convenience for safety at bus stops.
“We are telling you it is a lousy trade,” he said.
Armstrong said he wants parents to come out to the meeting today to voice their opinions, whether they are in favor of it or offer other ideas on how to improve what they are doing.
He hopes that more people will attend the meeting this week so he can provide them with data, facts and safety factors on why the bus stops should be moved. It is all about informing the people of why the bus stops are being changed, he said.
“This way these people feel more at ease,” Armstrong said about the start of the school year.
McGrail said the negotiations will soon begin with the school board to determine who is going to pay for what.
McGrail hopes to join forces with the school district to obtain state and federal grant money through Safe Routes to Schools to pay for the difference of installing the bus lights.
McGrail said once the lights are installed at the bus stops the bus routes will remain fixed instead of having to change every year.