Monday, August 30, 2010

School Bus or Sidewalks: Which is Cheaper?

Posted by on Mon, Aug 30, 2010 at 6:09 AM

Not long ago one morning, as I was getting up at the ungodly hour of 6:15 to walk the dog, I was shuffling around in my bedroom trying to find where I had last flung my overalls when some movement out the window caught my eye.

It was three little kids from across the street getting on the bus. To go to school. To go to the school I was about to walk my dog to.

Now, there are two crucial reasons why I walk to the school (or let's be honest, most days, halfway to the school). One, I don't have to cross Clarksville Pike. They would have to cross the highway with traffic at a speed of 55 miles an hour without so much as a crosswalk, let alone a light, at Lloyd. Two, there are no sidewalks until you get halfway up Lloyd. So: no sidewalks to bring them to a place to cross Clarksville Pike, and no sidewalks once they get across Clarksville Pike.

Is it really less expensive to drive a kid around for an hour on a bus every day (for as long as that kid is in elementary school), multiplied by all the kids in my neighborhood who should be within walking distance of school, than to put in some sidewalks?

Don't get me wrong. Of all the places in town that should get sidewalks, I figure my part of town should be towards the bottom.

But every time I see those kids getting on that bus, I wonder how many places around town something similarly stupid is happening — and whether we'd be better off making it easier and safer for those kids to get to school themselves.

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