Residents question bus stops
Lansford Borough Council recently approved several new school bus stops for the 2018-19 school year.
While the school year doesn’t start for another six weeks, neighbors of one new stop already believe that it is the wrong location for students to be dropped off and picked up.
Several residents spoke out at a council meeting Wednesday night about a bus stop at the intersection of Abbott and Coal streets. They’re concerned about their own property, as well as the safety of the students who will use the new bus stop.
Theresa Papay said she didn’t know there was a new bus stop in front of her house until Panther Valley’s extended school year program started on Monday. The new bus stop is in front of her home, and she said that children are sitting and playing on her lawn.
She asked why she wasn’t notified, and if council would look at moving the bus stop.
“To my knowledge, there was no notice of this change, nor a public announcement of this change to the residents impacted,” she said.
Papay raised several issues, including rumored drug activity around a house near the corner. Neighbor Gail Yasson said she also finds needles in the area of Abbott and Coal streets, and has observed suspicious activity.
Speeding vehicles were another concern raised by neighbors. Traffic on Coal Street has the right of way at the intersection, with no stop signs. Papay said that’s also a concern.
“The cars frequently go through the area very fast,” she said.
Samantha Rose, who lives on Coal Street, said that many cars do not stop at the posted stop sign on Abbott Street heading eastbound. She said speed control is an issue at the intersection.
Council President Jared Soto said he would meet with Panther Valley School District to relay the residents’ concerns.
He said the new bus stop was one of several created to try to break up a large bus stop at the former Panther Valley Middle School.
Soto said that a large number of parents were parking their cars at the bus stop to drop off their children each day. On occasion, Soto said, parents’ cars blocked firefighters with American Fire Co. No. 1 from being able to get to their parking lot, which is next to the school.
Councilman Joseph Butrie said the traffic had the potential to slow down the department’s response time in case of an emergency.
“What happens if your house is on fire, and the firemen can’t get to the firetrucks because the cars are blocking the parking lot,” he said.
Resident Mary Soberick said that the decision to change the bus stop rests not with the school district, but with Soto and his fellow council members.
“At the time this decision was made, you had options. There was no other input. Basically it was your decision,” she said.
Soto admitted that he did not think to notify the general public that there would be changes to the bus stops, thinking it was adequate to tell parents who would be affected.
Soberick, a former council member, said that council has basically taken the issues from the former middle school bus stop and relocated them to other places in the borough.
“Those hundreds of kids in September are going to take up an intersection,” she said.