Monday, April 8, 2019

Action Alert: Attend April 16th School District Town Hall Meeting re: bus stop safety

The recent tragic deaths of two Lee County school students while waiting at school bus stops have caught the attention of citizens throughout Lee County.  The School Superintendent, the Sheriff's Office, the Cape Coral City Council and Cape Coral Police are actively working to address school bus stop safety problems, and parents, neighbors, and citizens are doing their part..  Superintendent Greg Adkins is leading the way, and citing the Dangerous by Design study that ranks Lee County as one of the most dangerous communities in the country for pedestrians, and how those dangers impact school students.  As Superintendent Adkins says in his letter: "The reality is, we need to work together as a community to make our roads and streets safer, not just for students, but for all pedestrians and bikers. We plan to be a leader in that charge."   BikeWalkLee welcomes his leadership and encourages the many other community leaders to join him.  No one agency or organization can bring about the changes needed to make our streets and bus stops safer for students and everyone. And the willingness of all of us to change our behavior while on the streets of our community is key to making our roadways safer for all users.
School Superintendent's Message on Bus Stop Safety

On April 5th Superintendent Adkins sent a message to all parents about Bus Stop Safety:  Superintendent's Message - Bus Stop Safety.pdf 

The School District is holding a Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, April 16th to talk about bus stop safety, and invites the public to participate.  Come to share your ideas about how to address these problems, or watch the live streaming of the meeting on your electronic devise or PC.

What:  School District Town Hall Meeting
When:  Tuesday, April 16th at 6:00 -7:30 p.m.
Where: District Office Board Room
             2855 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers

The School District of Lee County SUPERINTENDENT MESSAGE

On Tuesday, April 16, we will hold a Town Hall Meeting focusing on bus stop safety from 6pm – 7:30pm. It will be held in the Board Room at the District Office (2855 Colonial Boulevard, Fort Myers), however, you can participate from your home, as we will stream it live on the District’s YouTube and Facebook accounts.  You can submit questions using the above email address, or in the comments section of the Facebook feed.

Keeping our students, staff, and schools safe is of highest priority and the responsibility of everyone in our community. We are thankful for our partnerships with law enforcement and local governments in this endeavor and thank you for your ongoing support to make our schools and your students as safe as possible.


Dr. Greg Adkins Superintendent

April 5, 2019

Dear School District of Lee County Families, 

Last week one of our families lost their 8-year old daughter in a tragic accident at a bus stop.  Earlier this year, another family suffered the same loss when their 12-year old daughter was hit and killed while walking her sister to the bus stop. 

While these accidents were the cause of drivers not paying attention, they rightly raise questions about the safety of school bus stops and walking areas.  Over the last week, hundreds of you have reached out, asking how to make stops safer and offering solutions.

I want to let you know that we hear you. In the last few days, we have met with representatives from each law enforcement agency in Lee County as well as a team from the City of Cape Coral.  We hope to engage other municipalities in the coming days. 

To give you some background, The School District of Lee County has 6,958 bus stops.  We have 753 routes on which we transport 49,231 riders.  Our buses make 35,599 stops a day. Since August, we have had to make 16,149 stop changes. The majority of those are parents wishing to move their children from one established stop to another. However, we have had to physically change stop locations due to parent requests, student mobility, student growth, construction, and safety concerns like sexual offenders/predators moving into an area.  It is a herculean task. 

I know many people say that if we simply got rid of school choice that would help, and to a certain extent, it would.  In the next few years, we will move to an elementary proximity plan where parents will be able to choose from the closest 4-6 schools from their home.  This will help with transportation and possibly school start times.  However, infrastructure issues would still exist.  

Each year Smart Growth America releases its Dangerous by Design study, which ranks state and metropolitan areas around the country using a “Pedestrian Danger Index” (PDI).  Based on PDI, Cape Coral/Fort Myers ranks as the 8th most dangerous metro area for walking in the United States. 

The reality is, we need to work together as a community to make our roads and streets safer, not just for students, but for all pedestrians and bikers. We plan to be a leader in that charge.  

This week we launched an updated page on our District website devoted to walkers and bus riders with videos, safety tips and information for parents to share with their students: In addition, we created email address where you can send ideas:

BikeWalkLee's message in the words of Cindy Banyai, mom of kids in Lee County schools and BikeWalkLee Steering Committee member:

"It is a dream of mine to let my children walk or bike to school without being worried sick that a motorist is going to mow them down - even with the sidewalks and lights that my neighborhood is fortunate enough to have. All our children deserve to be able to get to school without undue risk of death. Every parent deserves that peace of mind. It is all our responsibility to provide this. Drivers need to be alert and cautious, following speed restrictions. Schools need to make policies that make sense for families and their environment, not just a logistical bottom line. Local governments need to secure funding and plan for infrastructure that is safe for all users, including people on bikes and walking. Let's keep all our kids safe!"

Related Links:
News-Press articles (all were posted on BWL's Facebook Page):

April 5, 2019: 8-year-old's death spurs Cape Coral residents to put benches in yards for school bus riders.

April 2, 2019: Benches, sidewalks, safety top concerns for local leaders after death of Cape Coral girl.

March 28, 2019: Lights for Layla: local agencies raising money for LED lights on student backpacks after girl's death at school bus stop

March 28, 2019: Cape Coral, Lee County School District to analyze bus stop safety after student deaths.

March 26, 2019:  Cape Coral police seize truck, eye person of interest in hit-and-run that killed 8-year-old girl.

March 25, 2019: 8-year-old dies in Cape Coral hit-and-run accident Monday morning.
BWL Blog January 23, 2019: BikeWalkLee's Statement on the 2019 Dangerous by Design Report: Assessment of Efforts in Lee County to Improve Pedestrian Safety and Future Improvements Needed 


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