When a new bike/ped sidepath was added along Travilah Road, some neighborhoods lost school bus service.
Montgomery County public school officials have told parents that their children no longer will receive bus service because a new bike path leading to the school provides an adequate walking route.
Because of the completion of a bike path along Travilah Road, the school system is suspending bus service to students who live within a mile of the school, leaving parents to wonder why the bus cannot make a last stop for the safety of their children.
Residents who live along Natia Manor Drive, which creates a horse shoe-shaped loop off Travilah Road, say the path is too far and too dangerous for children to walk alone. They cite the 2004 hit-and-run death of Solomon King, a Thomas S. Wootton High School junior, who was struck at Travilah Road and Noland Drive, about one mile east of the neighborhood and roughly two miles from the school. No other fatal pedestrian collisions have occurred along that stretch of Travilah Road, said Capt. Paul Starks, a Montgomery police spokesman, but five vehicle collisions have occurred there from 2004 to 2008.
The 8-foot-wide, shared-use path for pedestrians and cyclists was completed in June of last year, said Bruce Johnston, a division chief with the county Department of Transportation. The path, which runs between Darnestown and Dufief Mill roads, cost $11 million and was built in response to complaints that Travilah Road was narrow and had no shoulder, he said.
Residents said they are concerned that the path is on the same level as the busy street, with no barrier for children who might wander or vehicles that might swerve. Lewis said he has seen motorists drive on the path.
The school will add patrols to monitor children as they walk to school
While a mile seems like a long walk for a five year old (am I wrong parents?) I doubt this is unsafe, and I think it's a good idea.