The Rancho Murieta Association is still considering the possibilities for a new school bus stop on the North after a poorly attended town hall meeting on the subject this week.
At Wednesday night’s meeting, before an audience of two, the RMA scratched the proposed North location on Lago Drive at the Pera path. The other North location, on Murieta Parkway at the north end of Domingo Drive, looked solid. It seemed the South proposed site, on Colbert Drive, was likely.
General Manager Greg Vorster said the need to address the bus stops near the gates came to his attention last winter, when he and RMA directors heard from parents and others who thought bus pickups at the gates were unsafe, especially in the mornings, with the convergence of kids on foot and bikes, parents dropping kids off and motorists trying to get to work.
The Elk Grove Unified School District came out twice to survey the situation, Vorster said, and the district’s thoughts were the basis of the plan presented to the RMA board and covered last week at RanchoMurieta.com.
The plan called for two locations instead of the single North Gate pickup – two stops were suggested by the school district, Vorster said – and one new stop instead of the present South Gate pickup.
Vorster said he thought the two pathways that meet at the proposed Pera path location would allow kids to bike or walk to the stop, but reader comments in response to last week’s story caused RMA to rethink the plan.
He acknowledged that it’s worth addressing the possibility of kids either playing in the ditch or falling in by accident. “We’re thinking this may not be the best location,” he said.
Instead, with certain qualifications – common-area land, lighting and good sightlines – Vorster offered three alternative sites on Lago Drive:
Lago across from 12 Park. (Negatives offered by Vorster: The common-area land is very steep and the street light is on the other side of the road.)
Lago before Pescado Circle. (Vorster’s view: Nicely maintained flat lawn, plenty of drop-off parking for parents. “We thought that was a very strong candidate for the stop.” Again, lighting is on the other side of the street.)
Second Lago off Murieta Parkway. (Vorster’s view: This site has an issue with a drainage pipe that often causes the sidewalk to be slimy. That should be addressed in any case. Not “real close” to any homes. Good lighting and sightlines. “Probably if I were to recommend a site, that would be it.”)
In response to a question from parent Alicia Correia, Vorster said no shelters are planned for the new locations, though RMA might pour concrete slabs to provide dry footing. Correia asked about bike racks, which are used by many children, at least on the South, where she lives. There are no plans for those either.
Of the proposed new South location, on Colbert Drive at the 12th Fairway, Vorster said, “It’s got great sightlines; it’s got lighting where the bus would stop; it’s got plenty of parking for the parents; it’s not impacting any residential lots.” He called it “a much safer stop.”
Correia suggested the plans need to address lighting, a real problem in winter. She said RMA should go back to the drawing board on the South site selection as well and talk further with the school district. “They’re not giving you enough information to make a good decision for our community,” she said.
RMA Director Jim Crowder, one of a handful of directors in attendance, seconded the darkness concerns, saying he had made multiple field trips to the bus stops as they were being used.
Vorster said the RMA board needs to make the decisions next month in order to get back to the school district in time for the new school year.