Monday, August 27, 2007

The Domino Effect (Or Monday Cubed)

It's been a while since I've had a canary post for you all, and I don't have one now. I'd characterize this as more of a domino post myself ;).

First of all, I haven't been saying much on this blog because this has been a crazy summer for me with almost no time at home to get things done. Though I enjoyed each piece of my summer in isolation, I've been desperately looking forward to the start of school and some return to normalcy and productivity.

I should have known better :p.

First, two questions:

1) What is the shortest distance between two points?

2) How many teenagers will go out of their way to get more exercise?

Keep those answers in mind while I tell you of the start of the first day of school...which was, of course, a Monday.

Everyone got up on time and was ready, up to carrying their backpacks, with a good 10 minutes to spare. So at 7:12 we head out down to the bus stop (me on the way to my morning walk). At about 7:18, with the bus stop in sight, my oldest realizes he's forgotten his class schedule. He had it earlier, but set it down to read because they were ready too early.

He runs back to the house, gets it, then walks the distance to the bus stop, presumably because he's tired.

With 1-2 minutes to spare, he's within 12 feet of the bus stop and there's no sign of the big, yellow vehicle.

He missed the bus.

Why you ask? How is this possible especially since his walking speed is a quick jog for most people?

Well, when they planted this bus stop, they put it on the opposite side of a 35 mile an hour street with no crosswalk. There are no houses or access on the side of the street where the stop is, only the sound wall for a housing complex. Basically it is in the middle of nowhere with no safe or legal way to get directly to it. On our side of the street the wall is broken by an entryway, but again, there's no good way to get to the other side, where the bus is scheduled to go.

There is a crosswalk at the corner some distance ahead (put there actually because I complained about this exact circumstance for the middle school bus last year though on a different street), and another crosswalk some distance in the other direction at the park (also one I had to point out to the city was a dangerous place to terminate a walking path into a 35-mile an hour road with a park on the other side). Yes, I'm guessing both crosswalks were in the original planning, but they sure showed up pretty quickly after my husband and I got the acknowledgement from the city.

So, no bus in sight, bus stop right there, and what do I make him do? Go down to a crosswalk to cross. Already at least one teenager had just walked across the busy street right in front of me.

And so he missed the bus. Because he couldn't jaywalk in 35 mile an hour, relatively constant for the time we were standing there, traffic.

Remember the questions above? We have a high number of accidents involving school children in this town, though mostly the much younger crowd. While I agree that the school and its related agencies can't do everything to protect our children, I don't think it's too much to ask that they put the bus stops in safe locations, is it?

So anyway, to continue with the domino effect, my chance at a walk is done, gone, kaput. Instead, I take my oldest back to the house, grab my purse for my license, and run out to the car. He will not be late on the first day.

He gets to the passenger side and says, "Hey, who left this door open?"

No one has driven my car in several days. You guessed it. The battery is dead.

An emergency cell call to my husband who rushes out of work and drives my son to school, arriving with a full two minutes to spare.

What do I do? I call the bus company. I point out the illogic and the fact that I had to report the same problem last year, which they solved by adding a stop down at the crosswalk (not removing the problematic stop :p). She says she'll report the problem to the coordinator and took my name and number.

Sigh. Yeah right. Back to normalcy and productivity. Why is it then that I'm still up in arms and have spent my writing hour putting together this post? I suppose there's still hope for tomorrow, right?

Oh, and I forgot to mention that while writing this with my morning juice which is grape because we're out of orange for some reason I knocked my glass and splashed some...luckily almost all missed the light gray carpet :P.


Jean said...

Good luck with getting a safer bus stop location.

As for everything else, amazing. It's hard to believe some days have so much that goes wrong, one little thing after another.

Margaret said...

Thanks Jean. What I've heard so far (besides that they will consider my concerns) is that he's supposed to wait across the street until the bus comes, wait for the driver to acknowledge him (this is a broad street only two lanes but with parking lanes on both sides), then cross when the stop sign pops out from the bus. Seems like a recipe for disaster to me.

I contacted the city and have confirmed that crossing at that point is not jaywalking but rather an "unmarked crosswalk." To preserve my son's sanity, I've given in and just asked him to be careful. Here's hoping the bus company does actually come up with a safer solution.

Oh, and on a side note? The middle school stop with the almost identical problem I reported last year is still on the list, but they added another stop where the crosswalks are. Interesting, none of the students use the bad stop anymore...just what does that say?