As planned, school buses heading to on Wednesday morning began a new procedure of dropping students off at the rear of the in an attempt to alleviate traffic jams that are standard during school days at the high school entrance on South Finley Avenue.
However, after concerns were raised by the public, school officials now say on the Bernards Township School website that a discussion of the trial program will be held at the Feb. 13 meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. that Monday night in the auditorium of the William Annin Middle School.
School Board president Susan Carlsson said the school administration is responsible for making decisions about bus stops and routing. The board generally leaves such decisions to professionals, she said.
However, "We will look at it now that it's become an issue," she added on Saturday morning.
The school website said, "In an effort to address the traffic congestion and safety concerns associated with the morning arrival of cars and buses to Ridge High School, the District is implementing the following change for a trial period of eight days." The website said the new procedure is thaat Ridge-bound buses are unloading students at the Cedar Hill School parking lot that borders the back of the Ridge campus.
"As a consequence there will be buses coming through the Finley Avenue side of Homestead Village en route to the Cedar Hill School parking lot between 7:00-7:30AM. Cars utilizing the Cedar Hill School parking lot to drop off high school or before care children may continue to do so at the front of Cedar Hill School."
On Feb. 13, Carlsson said the administration will publicly discuss the change in the bus routing. After that, the board will ask for comments from the public, she said.
as permitted by changes in recent state regulations, was also set for the Feb. 13 school board meeting.
There was a delay for at least one high school-bound bus on the new route last Wednesday morning. The bus was rear-ended by a car on the ramp leading north from Stonehouse Road onto South Finley Avenue. had closed off the ramp as of about 7:20 a.m.
Schools Business Administrator Nick Markarian, who was at the scene shortly after 7:30 a.m. — when the bus and its students already had departed — said students were not injured. "Everybody was fine," he said.
Township police later said the car was a Ford sedan driven by 17-year-old female who ran into the back of a school bus at the intersection of Stonehouse and South Finley. Police later said on Wednesday the driver was believed to be heading to Ridge High School as well.
Neither the car or bus driver, or any of the 15 passengers on the bus were injured, police said. The car was towed from the accident location with damage to the front of the vehicle.
The bus had waited to be cleared by the school's transportation department and by township police before it could depart from the accident location, and continue its trip to Ridge High School, Markarian said.
Meanwhile, the buses had as planned proceeded from South Finley Avenue onto the driveway heading into the Cedar Hill School on Peachtree Road. Students from the buses then were directed to walk along a paved path to the rear entrance of the high school.
School officials on Tuesday said that the change in route is seen as one way of coping with constant schoolday traffic backups during mornings along South Finley Avenue by the intersection with Lake Road. Parents dropping off students, students driving to school, staff and, apparently, some smaller school buses continued to use the main entrance to the high school off South Finley Avenue.
The high school begins its day at 7:35 a.m. Ridge High School Principal Frank Howlett said the afternoon departure from the high school will not be changed. For the full story on the explanation behind the rerouting of the high school buses in the morning,.
Note: The following poll was posted on the first day of the new bus route, Feb. 1, prior to the board's announcement that the change in dropoffs is being implemented on a trial basis.