Today's Letters: School bus site has problems

Letters to the Editor
Published February 20, 2008

Now that school choice has been settled, the Pinellas County School Board is ready to proceed with and make its decision as to the building of a north county school bus facility. The area they are looking at is near the intersection of State Road 580 and McMullen-Booth Road, beside the Clearwater water treatment plant. The problems with this location are many.

- The traffic on already-congested and over-capacity roads. Can you imagine the congestion of up to 300 buses and cars, even if driving times are staggered on these roads?

- The possible pollution of Briar Creek and Tampa Bay despite the assurances from them that this just couldn't happen. Did you know that Briar Creek has the only waterfall Magnolia Falls in Pinellas County?

- This facility would be put behind 500 senior citizens' homes with more than 30 percent of them having respiratory problems, and on the east would border Country Villas subdivision.

This must be a serious concern to many people if seven subdivisions, the Suncoast Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Native Plant Society and the entire Safety Harbor City Commission, from the mayor on down, are opposing the matter. More than 2,000 residents have signed petitions. Just how many people or organizations does it take to get this issue dropped? Aren't school superintendent Clayton Wilcox and the Pinellas County School Board listening to the voting citizens of the county? Stop now!

It's time to think outside the box. There's a reason that any time a bus compound is to be placed near residences, people object and are in an uproar. It's just not a nice facility to have in your back yard.

Park 20 or 30 buses at different schools where they are needed in the morning. Possibly have tankers deliver fuel to them where they sit in the evenings when no students are present. Issue gas cards to the drivers so that they can get gas when they are on the roads after dropping off all students.

Some of these ideas might not work, but I'm convinced that an alternative solution to bus compounds is out there if we put our heads together.

This issue will probably be discussed at a workshop this month and possibly put on the agenda for a decision by the School Board some time in the next two months. I urge you to call the School Board office at (727) 588-6300, give your name and address for their records and tell them you oppose the building of a north county school bus terminal. You will not have to answer any questions or be put on the spot. Just do it now, before it's too late for your voice to be heard. You may also e-mail them at board@pcsb.org

The residents of Briar Creek and all the others living near this possible facility have respectfully opposed this facility for 1 1/2 years. It's coming to a conclusion soon. We ask for your help. Join us in our opposition. Call or e-mail today!

Sharon Philyaw, chairwoman, "No Bus for Us" committee, Briar Creek Mobile Home Park, Safety Harbor

Re: Bus driver drops deaf student at wrong stop, story, Feb. 15

Blame the system not the bus driver

Let's not put the blame on the driver for this. The driver was filling in for another driver because of the shortage of drivers. As an ex-driver, I always said that all students should wear a name tag to ride the bus. This tag should have their name, bus stop and contact number. I was told this would cost too much money.

So it's the school system's fault, not the driver's. The parent should thank the driver for bringing his daughter home, not be angry at him. If he's really worried about his daughter, maybe he should drive her to and from school.

John Miccio, Tarpon Springs

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