I am writing to ask the community to vote for reinstating the one-mile limit for busing our children to the middle school and high school. Apparently the $70,000 of promised savings to the district never materialized and actually ended up much lower while putting the children (especially those who live in Strathmore Vanderbilt and South Strathmore) in a dangerous position.
I grew up in Strathmore Vanderbilt and am currently raising my own family there. I attended St. Mary's for 12 years and during those later years (grades six-12) I would walk to and from school. But the world and Manhasset have changed considerably over the past 25-30 years, and today I would not feel comfortable having children as young as 12 years old walking along Shelter Rock Road.
The amount of traffic along Shelter Rock Road has increased significantly since my walking days. To provide you with an indication, in the late 1970's, there were no traffic lights from the intersection of the LIE service road until you reached Northern Boulevard. Now there are five lights along that stretch of road. The increased housing development of condominiums and single-family homes along Shelter Rock Road has had a tremendous impact on traffic. I am amazed by how many cars speed along and blatantly disregard traffic laws just to make the morning trains. Today's Shelter Rock is an extremely dangerous road. Would you want your child to have to walk on such a street?
The only sidewalk for pedestrians to utilize is on the east side of the road and looks as if it has not been repaired in at least 20 years. There are five places where the sidewalk has buckled and is several inches above grade. This is a hazard to anyone walking there but especially so to children. In addition, during this past winter of multiple snowstorms the only section of the sidewalk that was consistently shoveled was by Lord and Taylor. Who is responsible for maintenance of the sidewalk? The town? The property owners? If the section of sidewalk between Old Shelter Rock Road and Lord andTaylor is not shoveled out then where are the children of Strathmore Vanderbilt supposed to walk? In the street? I am an adult and I wouldn't take that risk.
In the last three years that my son has been in the Manhasset Public Schools I have received at least five notices regarding people exposing themselves, approaching children, following them in cars or that a registered sex offender has moved into the district. The last notice came home in my son's backpack just this past week referring to a case in the Port Washington School district. A letter from the Port Washington Police Dept. stated that a man tried to entice a young middle school child into a van while they were walking home from school. Again, this shows how different things are now as compared to when I was walking to school. I don't recall these types of notices being sent home to my parents and the vast majority of the time I felt safe walking to and from school. However, I do remember several times being nervous or scared when cars would stop or slow down no matter how innocent it might have turned out to be. While we live in a wonderful community let us not think that we are immune from the possibility of someone harming our children. Why would we want to expose our children to such a risk just to get to and from school?
To reinstate the busing limit to one-mile will cost the district approximately $40,000, which is a small price to pay for the children's safety. Please consider voting yes to the reinstatement of the one-mile limit. Thank you.