Standing On The Corner

Alert “06880” reader Terry Brannigan has an interesting view of morning traffic:  He lives on North Avenue, sandwiched between Staples and Bedford.

Yesterday morning — with driving conditions difficult — he watched in amazement as a “parade of cars” delivered students to school, one by one.

“What do you suppose the reason is?” he wondered.  “Did they miss the bus?  Is it a privilege?  I just don’t get it.”

Terry is not the first Westporter to see something wrong with nearly empty school buses sharing the road with almost empty cars.  “06880” has been down this road before.

Parents cite compelling reasons why they must chauffeur their child to school.

  • “It’s the only time I have to talk with him.”
  • “It’s on my way to the station.”
  • “She’d have to get up earlier to make the bus.”

All true, I’m sure.  But multiply each reason by each car, and it’s a recipe for congestion.  (Which means getting up earlier.  And taking more time to get to the station.  And — be honest — what kind of chat can you have when your kid is listening to an iPod and texting?)

After noting that Al Gore would be “appalled at the ecological cost of cars idling in a line that must stretch for 2 miles,” Terry added:

It strikes me as so odd.  My wife and I believe making the bus every morning is a badge of honor.

For 3 years we have had Sal for the bus to Long Lots.  You can set your watch by him, and he is equal parts safe driver, teacher, referee and uncle.

We love him, and enjoy seeing him every morning.  He smiles and shrugs his shoulders at the line of traffic he endures along North Ave that impacts his schedule, but he doesn’t complain.  (I hope he doesn’t take it personally!)

The boys and I were out there again this morning, standing our post.  We turned down 2 rides to school — it was a matter of pride.  I may be developing the next generation of Irish martyr.

But seriously, it seems like on a day like today, the number of valets increases when we should try to keep the roads as clear as possible.

Or any day.

Maybe these would be cooler than yellow school buses?

9 responses to “Standing On The Corner

  1. In fairness, and not only yesterday, there have been many buses that have been significantly delayed due to the weather over recent weeks. Some parents have schedules to keep and cannot stand indefinitely at the edge of an icy road, hoping for the bus to come, and are loathe to leave their children in this dangerous situation unattended.

    (I seem to recall there was a bus stop accident years ago, when I was at CMS, involving a car plowing into kids at a bus stop, wasn’t there?)

    …just pointing out that there may be factors other than privilege and convenience factoring in to what Terry is seeing.

  2. Yes, I consider myself a “hard-core” bus parent. 🙂 I only drive if my children are going in for extra help or have a before-school activity. But yesterday I had to deal with busses from Bedford and Staples not showing up — a frequent occurrence this winter. I understand the roads were bad, but it puts me in the position of having to drive when I didn’t want to get out on the roads at all. My car isn’t in a garage, so I have to scrape it off, warm it up, etc. I also won’t drive them any closer than Wakeman because of the mess on North Ave. As you can tell, I was really annoyed!

  3. In fairness yesterday, the elementary school bus showed up before the middle school bus. My daughter carpooled with another parent at the bus stop, and left for middle school before the bus actually got there. My son had a period off at Staples so he can leave for school over an hour later than his bus pick-up, and usually misses the line into the middle school on that day, however… at 8:15, 15 minutes after middle school was to start, the line was “around every corner” with buses mixed in the line… I think yesterday was an exception, and an excellent decision that “school decided to go on” getting there a little late instead of having to lose a day of our April break.

  4. Luisa Francoeur

    I am chiming in here with regard to yesterday’s (Feb 1) buses. I walk along a bus route every morning and the high school bus was about 10-15 minutes late. High school students have consequences for being late which makes it more understandable that they do not wait for a late bus.

  5. The schoolbus and busstop were also loosely supervised arenas for socialization at a time in life when those skills are developing. My sense of a neighborhood was anchored in the dynamics of my schoolbus.
    A neighborhood. What a concept.

  6. The schoolbus and busstop were also loosely supervised arenas for socialization at a time in life when those skills are developing. My sense of a neighborhood was anchored in the dynamics of my schoolbus.
    A neighborhood. What a concept.

  7. My daughter’s bus stop has disappeared under a snowbank. There is nowhere for her to stand and no good place for me to wait in the car with her. I am generally opposed to driving her to school, but this winter is different.

  8. The Dude Abides

    Start charging the “valets” for every car going into Staples or Bedford. Have them buy a pass for the year if need be. Everyone griping about budget cuts where here would be a revenue maker and perhaps, deter many from driving. Plastic bags? So hypercritical. The only thing “green” about Westport is the color of money.

  9. Gwen DwyerLechnar

    “In my day…” Really, back in the paleolithic era when I was going to school in Westport, we scorned the girl who got a ride from her mother from the far end of Rayfield Rd. to the bus stop at the corner of Rayfield and Spicer–on nice days.But to be honest, when it was raining out we were glad to see her coming and all piled into their car to wait for the bus!That was when I went to Long Lots and Staples. But for elementary school at Hillspoint, I, at the Hillspoint end of Spicer, was classified a “walker” and my friend Carolyn, around the corner on Rayfield ,was a rider. When we were going to my house after school, we walked, when going to hers, we rode.
    Of course, life was safer then, or at least perceived as such.Parental supervision at the bus stop? Heaven forfend!
    And, really, the way you guys have been taking it in the neck from the weather, it seems to me that this year all bets must be off, you have to make it up as you go along.