Letter: Road work causing bus stop safety concerns

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 31, 2016


I have lived on Robert Taylor Road for 17 years and have several grandchildren attend both Long Cane Elementary School, Long Cane Middle School and Troup High School. We have never had a problem and enjoyed all our bus drivers.

The decision by the Troup County roads department to dig up the pipe under the road was made and to shut down our road to through traffic starting March 14. This construction is scheduled to last eight weeks.

On Thursday, March 10, the children brought home a letter stating they had to walk to the intersection of Cannonville Road and Robert Taylor Road to be picked up by the bus. From our driveway this would be a 1.2 mile walk in pitch darkness at 7 a.m. Many other homes it would still be around 1 mile. Then again dropped off by the afternoon bus at the same location rain or shine. Remember, these are grammar school, middle school and high school children.

To make this even more interesting, there are two Georgia registered sex offenders on Robert Taylor Road where the children must walk past. I found their names and addresses on the web.

My wife then called the Troup County School System Transportation Department. She talked to the supervisor there. He told her they would have to investigate the allegations?

Question: I would think they would have this information as it is public record. Then she was told they need a place to turn around.

We have several driveways that the bus could use. I’m sure if they need approval that would not be a problem. Next she was told it was the parents responsibility to get the children to school.

My understanding is our tax money pays for this service under the Troup County budget. I feel this is unacceptable and should be addressed as soon as possible.

As a footnote there is also a sex offender on Long Cane Road very near both the grammar and middle schools.

Michael Ellis

West Point

Editor’s note: The Daily News reached out to the Troup County School System and state Department of Education for more information and responses to Mr. Ellis’ letter. Jeff Turner, director of transportation for Troup County schools, said that buses cannot get down Robert Taylor Road and safely turn around while the construction is ongoing, necessitating students be transported to the common bus stop point.

“Unfortunately, this is certainly not our wish or desire, but, unfortunately, we have asked the parents to bring their children out to where they can safely get to the bus,” he said. “… We don’t want children having to walk mile and a half up Robert Taylor Road, that is unsafe and we would not advocate that. However, in this unfortunate situation, we have no option. The parents need to work with us and get their child up to that bus stop.”

Turner said staff checked the area and couldn’t find a suitable spot to turnaround, and were concerned using a private driveway repeatedly would create too much risk of property damage.

Carlton Allen, director of pupil transportation for the Georgia Department of Education, said state guidelines recommend students not need to travel more than half a mile to a bus stop. However, the guideline is contingent on what road conditions allow, he noted.

Ideally, Allen added, students would never have to pass a sex offender’s home on the way to a bus stop, but if the road condition won’t allow a bus to travel closer, then it is unavoidable.