Local school district has been using our driveway as a bus stop for months without our knowledge or consent - Concerns about property rights and liabilities

Local school district has been using our driveway as a bus stop for months without our knowledge or consent - Concerns about property rights and liabilities
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#61

When the bus is loading/unloading, traffic is completely obstructed by the bus even if there isnt a single car parked along the road. Doing this would only cause congestion for other cars on the road before and after the bus has been through.


#62

This is what you should be focusing on. Not “stopping without your permission” or “the bus blocks my driveway”, but the misbehavior of the kids waiting for the bus. And it doesnt matter if it’s at your driveway or somewhere else along your yard, the problem is the same - too many kids, and kids not staying in their spot. If the sidewalk area (be it at the driveway or further down your yard) cannot safely accommodate the number of kids, the school needs to add more stops. Dont just rabble-rouse about how the bus cant stop at your driveway 'cause you didnt give it permission.

As others mentioned, looking at your pictures it doesnt look like they’ve really chosen to designate your driveway to be “the bus stop”, but it happens to be where the bus can stop where it’s rear end has safely cleared the intersection (yes, some drivers will be more conscientious of this than others). And of course kids congregating in that general area are going to do so at a driveway apron, rather than the grass/dirt/mud of the yard. As a property owner, I’d generally appreciate them staying on the concrete, especially in the rain and snow.

I think what you want to say is that the proper place for a bus running east to west to stop would be at the corner on the east side of the intersection, before entering the intersection. However, if you arent careful, by saying this you’re also saying you want the kids to hang out in your neighbor’s yard instead of your own, which in itself comes off rather petty.


#63

Right. Very unlikley that the past use of your driveway as a bus stop has anything to do with them using it today.

You actually think they cancelled your kids bus service in order purely to punish people because a levy failed??

When levies fail school funding drops and they have to cut something. Cutting bus service due to a levy failure seems like an obvious cause and effect of lower budgeting necessitating reduced services.


#64

As promised, here are some updated pictures to help clear up any confusion.

The small red dots at the corners are the locations of the stop signs. You can see that there are no stop signs on the stretch of EW Street shown. On the day this map picture was taken, there are no cars parked on this stretch of EW Street, which is pretty typical.

In the lower right corner, I’ve placed a school bus heading North. That is a regular pickup point. Although not shown, the house on that SE corner has the driveway on EW Street. When the bus turns West on EW Street, it stops at the NE corner of the next intersection as shown. When the bus approaches NS Street, it usually stops at the NE corner as shown or the NW corner (which causes them to block the intersection). Then the bus continues West on EW Street and stops at the NE corner of the next intersection.

From East to West, the 1st, 2nd, and 4th bus stops have been the same for all morning pickups for the 21 years I’ve lived here. Until this current school year, they had also been the bus stops for all afternoon drop offs.

In the next picture, the line of cars parked on the South Side of EW Street is not typical. Someone was having a party. They do show that EW Street is a 2 lane residential road with plenty of room for vehicles on both sides.

The next picture shows how my driveway became the 3rd bus stop from 2000-2009, with our permission. As I related earlier, there was no bus stop at our corner and this was the solution proposed by the bus driver. She really should have used the NE corner, but I didn’t know any better at the time. The bus stopped on the North side of EW Street right at our driveway, with our permission at the time.

As related earlier, we rescinded permission in early 2009. The 3rd bus stop was then moved to either of the Northern corners of our intersection, as shown in the top picture.

Last August, the 7 AM bus pickup was moved back to our driveway without our knowledge or permission. The top picture shows that it made absolutely no sense to have done that, especially since the 8 AM bus pickup remained at the NE corner. Since I demanded that they stop using our driveway last week, they appear to have settled on the NE corner for the 7 AM pickup.

Also, since last August, for the first time since I’ve lived here, they’ve had the bus travelling West to East on EW Street for the 3 PM drop offs, although the 4 PM drop off bus is still traveling East to West as always. So far, 3 PM bus has been using either the SW or SE corner randomly. The photo I took yesterday showed what I’ve depicted on this map:

Intersection

I don’t know if they’re allowed to block the intersection like that, but it’s not my problem.


#65

Enough with the maps right now.

This morning I called the State Education Dept. to ask if a school district is allowed to use a homeowner’s driveway without their knowledge or permission. I was told that it is not allowed. They have to get permission first.

Plain and simple.


#66

Geez, you could’ve added some animation showing the bus driving down the street… :wink:

But you still havent explained why you think they’re “using your driveway” any moreso than they would be “using the corner of your yard” like you want. There should be no difference from your perspective. Unlike what you asked the state, they arent using your driveway, they’re using the road in front of your driveway - and if the kids were getting on from the house across the street, the bus would still be stopping in the exact same spot. The only use of your driveway is by individual kids who happen to wander off the sidewalk while waiting - which is an issue unrelated to the bus, it could happen with literally anyone walking down the street.


#67

Yes please, if people are going to have diagrams on this forum I think we need to demand a minimum of 3D animation. :wink:


#68

I sense you’re being sarcastic here. Yes, it should be unlikely, because we rescinded permission in 2009 and never gave permission again. Someone decided all of a sudden, after 8 years, that they needed to use our driveway again, and only for the 7 AM pickup?

My maps show the buses drive past 2 residential blocks without driveways on the North side before they get to our driveway. No reason for this to have happened at all. None.

They told the community that if the next school levy failed, they would cut high school busing and only high school busing. K through 8 would still have busing. I voted for the levy actually, but it failed anyway. Parents were given 2 weeks notice in the middle of the school year to find alternate transportation for high school kids.

I spoke to the Superintendent personally at the time. I said that I couldn’t understand how they were saving money by doing this. They were still going to keep both a 7 AM and 8 AM pick up and a 3 PM and 4 PM drop off on every existing bus stop in our area. So, what sense did it make to allow my son in 7th grade on the 7 AM bus, but not allow my daughter in 9th grade on the 7 AM bus? And for all families in the same situation? The answer was (paraphrasing), “Well, we warned you it was going to happen, so it is.”

When the next levy came up, they threatened to cut all sports, extra-curricular activities, art, music, etc., if it didn’t pass and take everything down to bare bones. They said that if it passed, they’d bring back high school busing. There was a lot of press about it at the time and letters sent home to parents. The levy passed and they didn’t make the threatened cuts. But they also didn’t restore high school busing.

Shortly after, they got a new Superintendent. I called him to ask about the promise made to restore high school busing. He knew nothing about it and said that the school board told him that they were never going to bring back high school busing.

I’d concede that what they did was purely a cost-saving measure if they’d gone back to one pickup and drop off, or cut down on the number of bus stops at every single corner in our area, or especially stopped busing kids that live within 2 miles of the school. They’re only required by state law to bus kids that live more than 2 miles, but they continue to bus kids K-8, even when they live a few houses down from the school! Wouldn’t you be mad to be behind a school bus that stops at a house right down the street from the school, while you live 4 miles away and now have to drive your kids?

You don’t have to answer that. :slightly_smiling_face:


#69

From the first picture it seems obvious to me that all morning pickups should be at the NE corner of all intersections and there seems to be no reason at all for them to pick up right in front of your driveway at the NW corner instead.

The whole problem seems to be based on the bus driver in August changing the pick up location to use your driveway for no known reason.

At this point it seems like nobody in your community (school, neighbors, bus driver, police) is in disagreement that your driveway should NOT be used as the pick up, am I right?


#70

How did I do on those maps though? It’s my first time, as you can tell. :blush:


#71

If you wanted to be a real jerk, Budget rents box trucks fairly cheap…couple of those and a bus probably wouldn’t even have room to navigate a turn from the cross street…but that would be mean and wrong…:grinning:


#72

Are you saying they didn’t make ANY changes in the # of buses running but simply said high school kids can’t ride the bus any more?
If so I’d suspect that possibly your neighborhood route could be an exception there and they cut costs in other bus routes that you’re not seeing.

Its possible your school is trying to bribe or blackmail people into passing levies, I don’t doubt that happens. But things like buses, after school sports, etc all do cost money too and are generally more optional aspects of education and the easiest things to cut. They can’t cut their salary or building costs as easily.


#73

Get a half dozen of those PODS movable self storage things dropped off in front of your house for a month and pretend like you’re moving stuff.


#74

Oh geez, where is my head…

buy 6 crown vics


#75

But the number of buses running would be lower, due to fewer students needing seats. As it was, I’d assume there was a lot of overcapacity, due to them having to ensure enough seats regardless of how many high school students were actually riding the bus on any given day. In general, elementary and middle school students have much more consistent riding patterns. Transportation logistics is a lot more complicated than you are making it out to be.


#76

Actually no that wasn’t sarcasm at all.

As I understand it your driveway was the bus stop for 9 years and then at the corner for the next 8+ years.

And you said :

Its been 8+ years since your driveway was used. Everyone involved is different people now “several times over”.

So why would a new bus driver or scheduler or anyone decide to use your driveway today based on what happened 8+ years ago before they ever got involved?

You had said the bus driver decided to in August. For no known reason. That bus driver wasn’t around 8+ years ago to have known your driveway was an old stop. So I don’t see how the previous history of your driveway acting as bus stop would have caused him/her to use it as the stop in August.

Hence, I don’t think the previous history of your driveway acting as bus stop has anything to do with them using it now. Unless I’m missing something…


#77

Substitute drivers come and go on various routes, but can stick around in the system forever. Someone who last remembered the “old” way may have rotated back around to this route. Heck, the driver could now be one of the kids that use to get on the bus at the driveway. Or maybe the new scheduler pulled out an old route map by mistake, when designating pickup locations.

But most likely, if it’s been the same driver all year, he probably saw the kids at the corner the first day, and just pulled ahead far enough so the bus was clear of the intersection. Which coincidentally happened to be about at OP’s driveway. If the kids are gathering anywhere along the NW quadrant, that would be the safest place to stop the bus.

Also, dont underestimate parents’ inability to distinguish East from West when figuring out which side of the street to leave their kids (or to be able to comprehend why it might matter). If all (or most) of the kids are on the West side of the intersection, no decent bus driver is going to stop short and force them to cross an unmanned side street to get to the bus, no matter where they are supposed to stop.


#78

That’s like calling the Department of Agriculture if you get arrested for smoking weed.


#79

No, it’s not the only use of my driveway. OK, OK, OK, now I think I see what the mass confusion here is, after looking at the relevant part of my OP. I thought I’d cleared it up in subsequent posts, but maybe not. I will try to make this clearer than mud.

The kids are instructed to be waiting at their designated bus stops at least 5 minutes prior to the bus arriving. On my maps, I show where the bus stops are/were/have been using the school bus graphic.

For example, the bus shown stopped at the NE corner of NS Street would be picking up kids who were instructed to wait specifically at that corner. Kids are to walk directly from their homes to the corner. (Do not pass Go, Do not collect $200.) They are supposed to wait on the sidewalk at the curved section. They are not supposed to enter that little strip that goes diagonally into the street until the bus stops, the doors open, and the bus driver gestures the kids forward to board. That’s the usual procedure for corner pickups.

When our driveway was the designated bus stop years ago, the kids and their parents walked directly from their homes into my driveway. They came from the North side and the South side of EW Street. They did not stop at the NW corner. They did not linger at the corner. They passed by it completely and proceeded directly into our driveway area and stayed there until the bus came. They were supposed to stay on the sidewalk in the public-right-of-way in my driveway. They were not to enter the driveway apron until the bus stopped, the doors opened, and the bus driver gestured the kids forward to board. These were the rules as told by the bus driver to everyone in our driveway at the start of each school year.

Fast forward again to last week. The parents told me that their kids had been waiting on the NW corner on August 30, 2017, which they said had been the bus stop used the prior school year. When the school bus approached at 7 AM, it did not stop at the NW corner, as it had the prior year. Instead, it drove West past all the kids standing on the NW corner and stopped at our driveway, like I show in my 2nd map of the intersection. The kids walked from the NW corner to board the bus from our driveway.

It’s not clear to me if the kids asked the bus driver why he had done that, or if the parents spoke to him personally, or a combination. But the bus driver said that all the kids were to wait in our driveway for the bus from now on, not at the NW corner. He gave no explanation for this and was nasty about it, from what I was told.

So, starting on the next day of school, just like all those years ago, the kids walked from their homes directly into our driveway and stayed there until the bus came and boarded them from there. They were not waiting at the NW corner at all from that day. The parents confirmed this.

Yes, the bus was using the road in front of our driveway. The kids were waiting in my driveway because they were ordered to be there the whole time, not at the corner. I got the impression that the bus driver got nasty about having to wait for the kids to walk from the corner into our driveway that first day.

Since the bus driver ordered them to be waiting in our driveway for the bus and not at one of the corners, he had designated our driveway to be used as the official bus stop from that day forward. And the kids complied.


#80

You get it! I don’t know about the current bus driver, but you are right about everyone else.