Fox 59

Brownsburg families voice safety concerns over new school bus stops

BROWNSBURG — Wednesday marks the first day of school in Brownsburg, and for some kids – that means new bus stops.

However, one group of parents is concerned about safety in those areas and are now asking school leaders to make more changes. 

For example, some families say the intersection of Odell Street and Murphy Lane was backed up with traffic over the train tracks behind it and farther out of view than their former assigned stop. 

“Stop signs are ran constantly,” parent Amber Gibson said. 

It’s one reason she – and other parents in Brownsburg – are concerned.   

“There were no problems in the years before,” parent Wes Hash said. 

Brownsburg Community School Corporation Communications Coordinator Vicki Murphy says they examined all bus routes after redistricting for their new elementary school. In a statement, she said staff members have responded to many concerns and in many cases, personally visited the new stop again. 

Murphy also said a handful of times, the stops were adjusted, and they all comply with safety guidelines. But, some families still aren’t comfortable.  

“Our middle schoolers get on the bus when it’s dark very frequently, so that’s a concern,” parent Melanie Albright said. 

Albright and Gibson both say their kids now must round a corner and walk farther to reach their new bus stop. In previous years, they say they could still watch their kids safely board the buses at the stop just down the block. 

At another new stop along Odell Street, you’ll find Wes Hash – who says he spent $150 out of his own pocket on equipment encouraging drivers to slow down.  

“We’ve already had one car go around the school bus this morning while it was stopped,” Hash said. 

Hash says there’s a personal reason why he’s extra cautious when it comes to his kids’ safety near traffic – a memory of his childhood friend getting hit by a neighbor’s car.   

“Lucky to be alive. It’s just something that as long ago as it was, it still is fresh in my mind as if it was yesterday,” Hash said. 

The Brownsburg Police Investigations Division Commander Captain Jennifer Pyatt-Barrett said the department is not consulted when it comes to the locations of bus stops, but they could provide a traffic study “if requested by the Town to help determine if a particular area is unsafe for vehicle and/or pedestrian traffic.” 

Separately, Brownsburg Police said in a news release they are cracking down on school bus stop-arm violations through the end of the month. They say officers will be increasing patrols to prevent speeding and other forms of reckless driving near buses and in school zones. 

The Brownsburg Community School Corporation’s full statement can be found below, as well as the police department’s news release on their safety campaign.

After completing redistricting for our new elementary school (Crossroads), starting in March Brownsburg schools examined all bus routes for efficiencies. Legislation passed through the Statehouse this spring significantly impacted the BCSC Operations Fund, the fund that helps to buy new buses and add bus routes. All proposed routes were driven and all proposed stops were investigated by the Transportation Department and BCSC officials to ensure that they meet our safety guidelines. Starting May 1, BCSC first communicated with families that many stops would be moved for the next school year. Families were reminded in communications throughout the summer and bus drivers personally called families in mid-July to share their new bus stop information. BCSC Transportation staff has responded to many individual concerns from families and in many cases, personally visited the new stop again. On a handful of cases, the stops were adjusted. Our current stops all comply with our safety guidelines. We will continue to assess stops as concerns are presented to the Transportation staff.

Brownsburg Community School Corporation Communications Coordinator Vicki Murphy
Brownsburg Police Department news release