Andover neighborhood fighting plans to increase school bus traffic

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:48

    ANDOVER-The yellow school buses are a welcomed sight every morning in the Sussex Park section of Andover Township. Now, area residents believe the school board and the county want to abuse their welcome by increasing the number of buses running through their neighborhood. A group of area residents met on May 11 at the home of Ralph and Kathleen Mielke to discuss a proposal that would have school buses from Florence M. Burd School redirected through their neighborhood to alleviate traffic on Newton-Sparta Road. At a briefing at Long Pond School three weeks earlier, residents were advised of the proposal by Sussex County engineers to reroute school buses through the small neighborhood. The elementary school is about two blocks from a major county intersection - Route 206 and Limecrest Road. Buses enter and exit three times a day for drop-off/pick-up of students. The situation is presently being handled by a police officer on duty directing traffic and keeping the buses moving on schedule. The proposal to reroute the busses through their neighborhood has sparked the residents to action. Members of some 25 families attended the meeting. Residents expressed concerns about safety, pollution from diesel fuel and congestion of the roads not only by buses but also parents dropping off and picking up students. Also, residents said the added heavy traffic on the residential roads would lead to damage and that repairs of these roads would be an added expense for area taxpayers. According to Doug Carnegie, a local homeowner who met with county engineers, officials are aware of the residents' concerns and that the final decision would have to be approved by the Andover Township Board of Education. The group is now asking the board to consider their concerns. "We must provide the board of education with alternative ideas," said David Copelton, one of the homeowners affected. "Changing the problem from one location to another does not fix anything."