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Willow Lane Busing Drives Parents to School Board Meeting

Willow Lane parents attend Monday night’s meeting to ask the East Penn School Board to rethink its plans to make Willow Lane a 'walking school' beginning with the 2013-2014 school year.

It was pretty much standing room only at Monday night’s meeting of the East Penn Board as droves of Willow Lane Elementary School parents came to try to convince board members it would be a bad idea to make Willow Lane a “walking school” beginning with the 2013-2014 school year.

Seventeen parents of Willow Lane students addressed the board for nearly one hour during the public comment portion, asking the board to rethink its decision regarding Willow Lane busing and offering to work with the board to come up with a solution that meets both the safety needs of the students and the financial concerns of the school district.

The parents were driven to the board meeting, in part, by a Nov. 27 presentation of a Willow Lane walking study that the parent group claims is based on erroneous and incomplete information. In particular, the parents who spoke said the engineer who pulled together the walking study failed to include two traffic studies conducted by Lower Macungie Township.

Plus, they said that the walking study did not extend far enough from the school, neglecting numerous “dangerous” intersections that Willow Lane students would be expected to walk through in the fall.

The top concerns raised by the Willow Lane parents include:

  • The age of the traffic studies being used to make decisions about Willow Lane busing.
  • The 1.5 mile walking radius being too far to expect elementary school students to walk. One mother who “tested” her expected walk to school with her two children said it took an hour each way.
  • The logistics of the number of cars that will be entering and exiting Willow Lane in the fall since most parents will drive their children to school when busing is eliminated. One parent described the Willow Lane parents who now drive their children to a bus stop a block away from their homes and sit in a idling car waiting for the bus to arrive.
  • The lack of school-related signage around Willow Lane.
  • The failure of the board to accurately calculate the potential savings related to the elimination of busing, considering the costs related to making the walking route safe, citing a pedestrian bridge that will need to be constructed.

Later in the meeting, East Penn Director of Operations Lynn Glancy shared with the board the details of a comprehensive transportation study that the district is about to undertake. Willow Lane, he said, will be included in that study.

The administration plans to present the results of that study to the board and the public at the board's Feb. 11, 2013 meeting.

KilgoreTrout December 11, 2012 at 01:26 PM
The large number of parked cars at bus stops are hazardous too ! So many parents won't even walk 200 yards to the bus stops and we wonder why kids are growing up with health problems? Focus on safety, not on convenience and you'll get support.
ted.dobracki December 11, 2012 at 02:07 PM
They came out in droves.....
Ed Rekai December 11, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Willow Lane Elementary Busing: A one to one-and-a-half mile walk to school is good exercise and gets our kids into the fresh air and the environment. As a parent, and now grandparent, the Board and planners are on track.
Ed Rekai December 11, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Right on!
christine December 11, 2012 at 05:40 PM
If I had sidewalks and cars that drove the 25mph speed limit (not the 50 like they do) I would gladly let my child walk to the bus stop.
ted.dobracki December 11, 2012 at 06:14 PM
The absence of a local, full-time police force in LMT probably contributes to this problem. That is also one of the reasons why the school board decided not to build a new high school in LMT in 1990.
Sheriffchris December 11, 2012 at 11:10 PM
No wonder why our kids are so soft...1.5 miles is deemed too far to walk ???? Ridiculous.....Walking school means it is centrally located and student can/should walk....parents should be driving them...perhaps the parents should walk with them instead. Traffic studies should be updated...signage improved.....as far as saving goes...any dollars saved is good for this school district
Ron Beitler December 12, 2012 at 03:08 AM
@christine what neigborhood are you in? Your right on with speeding concerns through this area of the township. I wish Willow Lane through East Texas could be reduced from 35 to 30 or 25. Unfortunately it's a State rd.
Carl Stevenson December 12, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Parents driving their kids to the bus stop? No wonder kids these days are growing up fat, lazy, spoiled, insolent, and ignorant! Stop coddling the brats and let them get some exercise and teach them some personal responsibility. When we were kids (I'm 62) everyone except the kids that lived "out in the country" (out of town on farms, 3 miles + from school) walked. Only the country kids got bussed into town to school. And parents didn't drive kids to school ... They expected them to be responsible to get to school. Kids today are FAR too spoiled.
enraged December 18, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Times have changed, Carl since you went to school several decades ago!! You are comparing apples to oranges here. I have kids in the district that are neither fat nor lazy. It's downright disrespectful to stereotype like that. My kids are plenty active. I am sure that when you walked, there was not nearly the volume of traffic nor distracted drivers prevalent today. Heck, the roads in question were not even in place back then. The population of Lower Macungie has grown exponentially- surpassing that of Easton. The old A-B-E acronym should be A-B-LM. Traffic studies are outdated and kids have been hit in recent years. Let's look at the facts in this situation. If all of the safety precautions that Ron recommended were in place, I'd have no issue with my kids walking. Sorry for being a concerned parent,,have you seen the news lately...?
Ron Beitler December 18, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Public safety meeting tonight at 7pm. Good time to express safety concerns to the commission. Willow lane corridor not on agenda but they take public comment on non-agenda items. 7pm Municipal complex 3400 Brookside road.

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