A dangerous route

Seven On Your Side
November 15, 2010 2:48:36 PM PST
The New Jersey school board says student safety is it's "highest obligation." But a group of angry parents in their town have their doubts. They say the school is giving their kids no choice than to dodge cars and cross 4 lanes of traffic just to make it to school each day.The New Jersey school board says student safety is it's "highest obligation." But a group of angry parents in their town have their doubts. They say the school is giving their kids no choice than to dodge cars and cross 4 lanes of traffic just to make it to school each day.

"This is just an accident waiting to happen." That's the warning David Astolfi has for the Wayne Schools Board of Education. Each day a group of 14 and 15 year old students make the 2 plus mile walk to school.

"I wouldn't want to walk it. And I wouldn't expect my daughter to." Jody Astolfi punctuated her protest by driving the route with a video camera on the dashboard, and then posting it on Youtube.

"There's blinding corners and it's just very treacherous to walk." Ms. Astolfi's talking about the road in front of her home. For nearly a mile there are no sidewalks on either side and no shoulder.

Then, her daughter has to walk on the side of a 4-lane road. One side has a short sidewalk. But the majority of the trip has no sidewalk and thin shoulders. Berdan Avenue has a posted 45 mile per hour speed limit.

And with no crosswalks or guards at intersections, students are left to dodge cars on their own.

"It's really hard," says student Rachel Cako, "We have to be extra cautious of all the cars."

Wayne's Board of Education says since the Astolfi's live less than 2.5 miles, NJ state law mandates it doesn't have to provide busing.

But Wayne is allowed by law to provide busing. Other municipalities in the state have provided courtesy busing (where the school district foot th bill) or subscription busing (where parents pay all or part of the additional costs). When asked about providing either of those options, the Wayne Board of Education had no comment.

Parents have found that kind of attitude themselves, "We contacted the town. We contacted the board, the administration. I even went to the state. I'm just being driven around in a big circle," says Jody Astolfi.

The solution could be right in front of them. We watched as a half-filled bus drove by the Astolfi home. But in a statement, Wayne Board of Education says whether a bus seat is used or not, they're not allowed to give it to another student.

"Something bad's gonna happen here, you just wanna help before it does, that's all."

The Wayne Board of Education pushed blame to the municpality saying it's their responsibility to build sidewalks and provide additional crossing guards. So we called Wayne's Mayor. He agreed the route the students walk is dangerous. But said building sidewalks is cost prohibitive.

Story by: Nina Pineda


Produced by: Steve Livingstone CONNECT WITH NINA PINEDA AND 7 ON YOUR SIDE

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