Walk to bus stop too scary for 5-year-old, father says
- Blog Post by: James Eli Shiffer
- March 1, 2010 - 10:25 AM
David Abdel-Monem is a stay-at-home father of two who lives in South St. Paul. His older son, Blake, is in kindergarten this year and attends Lincoln Center Elementary. Their home is actually districted for a different school, so Abdel-Monem pays a $285 transportation fee so that Blake can take a bus to Lincoln.
Yet when Abdel-Monem learned where the bus stop was located, he wondered why he bothered. Blake has to walk four blocks down a street with no sidewalk and narrowed by high snowbanks. At two of those blocks, he has to cross streets with no stop signs for oncoming traffic. Blake is 5, and Abdel-Monem said he won’t let his kid make that trip alone. “I might get hurt,” Blake says.
“This is the first time I’ve seen kindergartners have to walk this far,” said Abdel-Monem, 42, a former school bus driver himself. His wife takes Blake to school, and he meets his son at the bus stop each day and walks him home. Abdel-Monem was frustrated to see that the bus passed much closer to his house as it went to its next route.
Like most people in my generation, I walked to school, and like most parents in my generation, my kids don’t. I live in Minneapolis so my children can walk and bike with less worry about getting hit by cars. But even in older cities like South St. Paul, plenty of streets require pedestrians to share their roadway.
For weeks, Abdel-Monem tried in vain to get the district to change the stop. After Whistleblower inquired about the situation, the district at first said his only option was to get his $285 back. Then, late last month, the district reversed itself and found a way to add an afternoon stop without interfering with the bus schedule. As of last week, Blake gets off the bus within sight of his house.
Should we trust our children more to walk around by themselves? Do cities need to do more to make themselves child-friendly?
© 2013 Star Tribune