With the school district’s elimination of certain bus routes, the possibility of an influx of children on foot heading to school is driving Kyle to add safeguards onto streets near campuses impacted by the cuts.
For a year now, Kyle city officials and Hays Consolidated Independent School District (CISD) officials have been in talks to make sure the estimated 3,895 students affected by the elimination of bus routes have a safe route to and from school, HCISD Board Trustee Esperanza Orozco, said in a Dec. 7 interview. Hays CISD expects to eliminate those bus routes by January 2018.
Schools effected by the bus route cuts are Fuentes Elementary School, Barton and Wallace middle schools, Hays High School, Live Oak Academy High School, and Lehman High School, according to the Hays CISD website.
Bus routes receiving cuts are those that serve students who live less than two miles away from their school with walking paths considered safe by the district with the recent installation of sidewalks.
Since the state will only fund a bus ride for hazardous routes, the district expects to lose the state money that pays for those particular bus routes, Orosco said.
Although the routes are viewed as safe, the city is planning several measures to ensure safety.
Those measures include repainting crosswalks, extend holding pads, install larger, lit school zone warning signs, and resignal traffic lights so that pedestrians would not be allowed to cross while vehicles are turning, said Kyle Mayor Travis Mitchell.
Other improvements include the city instituting a policy to mow the grass more frequently to increase walkability on sidewalks leading to schools. The city will also when necessary move crosswalks away from busy intersections to safer areas for students to cross safely.
Some of the delay in adding improvements is that an intersection or street may fall in the state’s or county’s jurisdiction, limiting the city’s ability enact immediate change, Mitchell said.
“There is so much we want to accomplish and the reason it’s taking so long is because we have to work with another entity that doesn’t experience the daily traffic problems associated with getting our students safe to school,” Mitchell said.
On FM 2770, a state road that leads to Hays High, Live Oak Academy and Barton Middle, Kyle officials are working with Texas Department of Transportation, (TxDOT) to lower the speed limit on the road near schools to take into account the possible increase in foot traffic, Mitchell said.
City officials placed an order with TX DOT for a traffic impact study on FM 2770 near the campuses and hopes it is conducted at a time when school is in session to get an accurate picture of traffic flows.
The district is adding crossing guards on every effected route and has requested a School Resource Officer “to be present in the morning at FM 2770 and Kohler’s Crossing,” Tim Savoy, HCISD official said via email.
The actual impact on traffic in the affected areas is hard to predict until the bus routes reduction occurs, Orozco said.
But an increase in traffic with more parents dropping and picking up their children from school can be expected, Orozco said.
City and district officials said the traffic conditions will be monitored and necessary additions are changes to the areas affected by the bust route cuts.
Who will be impacted by Hays CISD bus route cuts?
Beginning January 2018, Hays CISD will no longer operate bus transportation in the following areas:
Fuentes Elementary School
Subdivisions Prairie on the Creek and The Trails will be considered to be in the walk zone because of new sidewalks being constructed along Goforth Rd.
Barton Middle School
All students in the Plum Creek and Meadow Woods subdivisions will be considered to be in the walk zone because of new sidewalks along FM 2770 and Kohlers Crossing. Additionally, Mountain City will be considered in the walk zone because of the addition of sidewalks.
Wallace Middle School
All students in the Silverado and Spring Branch subdivisions will be considered to be in the walk zone with the completion of the sidewalk along FM150 (Rebel Rd.) Additionally, students on North Burleson from Center Street to Spring Branch Drive and students living on Moreno Street, Tenorio Street, Selvera Street, Barrera Street, and Rodriguez Street will no longer have bus service.
Hays High School/ Live Oak Academy High School
All students in the Plum Creek and Meadow Woods subdivisions will be considered to be in the walk zone because of new sidewalks along FM 2770.
Lehman High School
All students in the Prairie on the Creek and a portion of the Trials subdivision will be considered to be in the walk zone with the completion of the sidewalk along Goforth Rd and CR157.