Nearly 30 residents attended the South Colonie Central School District's first budget discussion on Tuesday, Jan. 13, to hear about the financial decisions facing the district in the coming year, but by the end of the meeting, it was clear that many of them had something else on their minds.
All eyes were on Colonie resident Ray Burnside as he rose to read a letter describing his concerns about the safety of buses using Peter Drive, which runs between Central Avenue and Sand Creek Road, as a through street.
My comments this evening reflect a two-fold problem facing residents: the excessive volume of school bus traffic throughout the school day, but, more importantly, the potential of a serious accident occurring on or about a particular section of Peter not intended for the passage of larger vehicle traffic, said Burnside, who has lived on Peter Drive for 30 years.
The portion of Peter Drive Burnside was specifically referring to forms a sharp S-curve, hugging the edges of residents' lawns.
Burnside argued that the buses, when operating at excessive speeds, create a real safety hazard for any person who is walking on the sides of the street, mainly because a vehicle the size of a bus could not possibly maintain control along such a set of sharp turns. Burnside also argued that it is impossible for the buses to remain on their own side of the road, with a car driving on the other. At times, Burnside said, cars have ended up on residents' lawns.
Burnside made his comments to the board on a night when Director of Transportation Peter Tunny was present to discuss needs in the transportation department for the upcoming year.
On Wednesday, Jan. 21, Tunny addressed the Peter Drive issue.
"The S-curve at one point in time limited or negated the movement of district buses on Peter. In more recent times, there seems to have been a reversal of district position pertaining to the use of Peter Drive by district bus personnel."