December 11, 2013 - Crestwood Ward 1 Alderman Darryl Wallach recently called for Lindbergh Schools' to reconsider its approval of an egress onto Doercrest Drive, according to a letter he sent to district officials.
He also requested consideration for redeveloping "Long School property so traffic exits onto Sappington, which is the safer alternative for our young residents that ride the school bus."
The expansion calls for five school buses to exit Long Elementary through Doercrest Drive twice per day — in the morning with no children on the bus and in the afternoon with children.
Wallach noted concerns brought to the Board of Aldermen about safety and visibility for drivers heading westbound on Eddie & Park Drive toward Doercrest Drive, which forms a T-intersection.
"Although, there was no school official present at the Crestwood BOA (Board of Aldermen) meeting, it's my understanding that four of the buses will make a left turn at the intersection of Doercrest Drive and Eddie and Park while the other one will make a right turn," Wallach wrote. "Presently, there are four buses that turn right (southbound) onto Sappington Road and one turns left onto Sappington at the current Long School traffic routes for the buses."
Lindbergh Schools Community Relations Director Beth Johnston told Wallach by email, which was provided to the Call, that the district puts student safety "at the top of (its) list of priorities and take(s) it very seriously."
"We have complied with every code and permit required throughout this construction process to ensure that we are creating the safest possible environment for generations to come," Johnston wrote. "The Long School parking lot expansion project is in full compliance with the law and will create a better, more safe traffic flow for thousands of parents and students. As the project nears completion, Long Elementary School families and Lindbergh Schools are looking forward to the improved environment these changes will create."
Wallach wrote that he is concerned Lindbergh Schools "has not been provided the appropriate engineering and safety studies for the egress from the Doercrest subdivision onto Eddie & Park Road."
"I believe the proposed travel of the buses from Doercrest onto Eddie & Park has safety concerns due to the lack-of-visibility issues that are approximately 140 (feet) east of this intersection," Wallach wrote. "As accurately pointed out at the Crestwood BOA meeting of March 26, there is a small ridge/hill to the east such as operators exiting from Doercrest are unable to view traffic traveling westbound on Eddie and Park until these units become visible at the hill crest on Eddie & Park Drive which is approximately 140 (feet) – 146 (feet) away."
If a bus makes a left turn visibility "will decrease the available distance from 10 (feet) - 20 (feet) when a 35 (foot) - 38 (foot) bus attempts to turn left across the oncoming westbound Eddie and Park traffic lane which, unfortunately, increases the potential of accidents at this location."
"Furthermore, the winter months with sunsets that come much sooner and cloudy days create a greater concern of the lack of visibility at this intersection," Wallach wrote.
Lindbergh Schools, according to Johnston, has a "long history of implementing the safest possible traffic plans for students and families at all of our five elementary schools, two middle schools, high school and early childhood education buildings."
"Our responsibility, which we take very seriously, is to always do what is best for children of all ages, and we are confident that the improvements at Long are the safest, best option for all students, parents, bus drivers and residents involved," Johnston wrote.