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Morning traffic takes its toll

Spike in parent drop offs spur safety concerns at North Colonie school

There has been a noticeable increase in the amount of students being dropped off by their parents at Boght Hills Elementary School in the past few weeks.

There has been a noticeable increase in the amount of students being dropped off by their parents at Boght Hills Elementary School in the past few weeks. Photo by Zan Strumfeld.

— “I don’t know why people think they can break the rules. It makes it unsafe for everybody else,” Morlitz said.

Greiner said on Thursday, Jan. 24, the traffic died down when a Colonie police officer was stationed outside, but she still isn’t sure why there were so many cars to begin with. Possibilities include students running late in the morning or missing the bus, or parents not wanting their kids to wait for the bus in the recent cold weather.

Sheila McLean dropped her son off at Boght Hills once over the past month when he was running late and noticed the longer lines in front of the school.

“I saw parents dropping off kids before they were supposed to be. They just get out of the line early, leave the kids cutting across in front of traffic,” McClean said. “Certainly a child could have gotten hit. Nobody wants their kid to be in danger and try to dodge cars like they’re playing ‘Frogger.’”

Although no students walk to Boght Hills, bus drivers saw a decrease in riders, according to Greiner. She said some busses were only half full.

“Taxpayers are paying the same amount of costs for fueling a full bus when in fact it’s half empty,” she said. “It’d be great if they’d ride a school bus. It’s a safer mode of transportation.”

The severity of the situation at Boght Hills may be an anomaly. Bill DeVoe, the public information officer for the Bethlehem Central School District, said he is not aware of any increase in traffic at the district’s schools. Bob Hanlon, the public information officer for Scotia-Glenville Central School District, said their schools haven’t seen any considerable increase in drop offs either, though each year they do see a slight increase in drop offs during the colder months.

“When there are cold snaps, parents don’t want their kids standing at the bus stop. That’s the only thing we’ve seen again this year,” Hanlon said. “We haven’t noticed anything out of the usual.”

Hoping the word is finally out and there won’t be any more traffic problems, Greiner said they “safety of children is paramount” and she thinks parents are finally understanding — and following — the rules.

“Apparently, when parents see a police car they get scared and actually listen,” Morlitz said.

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