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New safety procedure at Lindbergh school being criticized by neighbors

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- A new safety procedure at a Lindbergh Elementary School is being criticized by neighbors as making things more dangerous.

It all revolves around a new exit from Long Elementary School.  School officials call the exit the gold standard in making students’ arrivals and departures safer by keeping pedestrian, bus and car traffic separate.

Neighbors like Frank Ruzicka don’t agree. He said, “I don’t think they kept their end of the bargain.”  Beth Johnston, a spokeswoman for the school district said, “We made significant changes to this plan based on their considerations just wanting to be a good neighbor.”

The disagreement between Frank Ruzicka and the Lindbergh School District has been going on for about a year.

Ruzicka said plans call for a permanent gate to be put in place to prevent other vehicles from using the exit. Although the exit opened early last month there still is no gate.

Johnston blamed that on the weather. She, “Unfortunately the ground is frozen right now and as soon as that ground thaws the gate will be up.”  Ruzicka said, “Then they should have never used the road without the gate in place.

The exit is to be only used by buses. But neighbors said they’ve seen cars and even a big rig drive through.  Ruzicka added, “Safety has always been a concern an 18 wheeler in my neighborhood, is that a problem I would have to say that’s a problem.”

He said children’s well-being is jeopardized when exiting buses have to turn onto Eddie and Park a two lane road.  It’s difficult to see approaching cars. But, school officials say they checked it out, and it’s fine.  Johnston said, “And much safer than buses exiting onto Sappington Road which is a busier intersection.”  Ruzicka said, “We felt intimidated and bullied the entire process.”

Ruzicka and the school district seem to agree on one thing. Both sides said they want the city of Crestwood putting plenty of signage in the neighborhood warning motorists the new exit is for only buses.

16 comments

  • Claire Ruzicka

    If the ground is too frozen to put up the safe gate to complete the project correctly then this exit is not ready to use by busses much less semi trucks. A snow fence is not sufficient and is not up to the “gold standards” that Lindbergh claims this project exemplifies.

    • Dave

      People live along Eddie and Park and Sappington roads too. Why haven’t we been hearing from those people demanding that the buses not travel on their streets either? Maybe they should request that the schools purchase helicopters to transport the kids to school. Oh wait a minute, we haven’t heard from them because they’ve used their common sense. The school made a generous concession (which they did not have to make) to only allow busses to travel on Doercrest. The car traffic will be stopped once the gate is in place and the gate will be in place when the weather permits. Until then, please use your common sense and stop complaining about this greatly needed improvement to the school.

      • Frank Ruzicka

        Dave, let me fill in some blanks for you with some facts not rumors. The Lindbergh Board of Education has approved placing Prop G on the ballot in April. The Board of Education voted 6-0 last week to place the bond issue, Proposition G, on the ballot. Prop G will increase the district’s debt service tax rate 21 cents, to 68.3 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

        Yes, the district wants to build at the Dressel location but the demolition and new construction puts any new classrooms at least 2 years down the road. Expansion at Long Elementary, absolutely. School officials previously confirmed they have talked to the owners of the property just north of the Long Elementary and have expressed their interest in the property. If you haven’t noticed the home has already been demolished leaving a near vacant lot. It is only a matter of time before that property is purchased and expansion begins.

  • tim

    Give it a rest Ruzickas. This is the safest exit for our children. They made changes from the orignal plans to attempt to be good neighbors. You simply don’t like it. We get it already. The (what is it, 4/5 buses) will exit two times a day. I drive Eddie and Park every day to and from work. This is safer than Sappington Rd. PERIOD. End of story. The buses are not causing a traffic jam on your very short street. Our kids are safer by exiting through your street. Lindbergh will get the gate up. Everyone knows that weather causes delays in any kind of construction.

    • Cynthia

      Its time that you (RIZICKAS) begin the practice of being a good neighbor! Your behavior and actions have proved to be less than civil!

      • Frank Ruzicka

        Cynthia, not sure what I have done that you consider to be less than civil. I speak at public meetings where and when allowed. I alert public officials of my safety concerns and when I sense these concerns are being ignored I bring it to the attention of the news media. Not sure how that behavior can be considered less than civil.

    • Frank Ruzicka

      Tim I will give it a rest when the Lindbergh School District invests in a sight distance study at the intersection of Eddie & Park and Doercrest. When an insurance industry professional presented them with figures regarding the limited stopping distance at the intersection they ignored it. I have no kids on the buses and yet I am genuinely concerned for their safety. I have invested over a year of my time and effort in exposing these safety concerns. For the record, it isn’t just me and my neighborhood, we presented a petition with over 150 signatures last year to the Board of Education in opposition to the traffic plan. By the way, we are currently at 6 buses not 4 or 5. when the Long campus is expanded that number will increase.

      • Dave

        I’m not aware of any plans to increase the size of the Long camus. In fact I have heard rumors that there is a proposed proposition for a future ballot to ask for more funds to build a new elementary school somewhere else in the district because of overcrowding. Which would in turn more than likely reduce the number of students attending Long since its currently operating above capacity. Therrefore potentially reducing the number of busses. Not that the current number of 6 is a lot or worth complaining about.

  • Beth

    Crestwood Planning and Zoning agreed with our concerns and told Lindbergh to go back to the drawing board with their plans. At that point the district used our tax dollars to hire an attorney and threaten a lawsuit. Not very friendly actions from our “neighbor.” I felt bullied from the district throughout the entire process.

  • Doercrest Manor Resident

    I am saddened to read a lot of these comments. Doercrest Manor subdivision has been voluntarily represented by Frank Ruzicka. Although I can’t speak for everyone, I can speak for the majority of us, that support Frank whole-heartedly in his beliefs. Many of us have attended meetings with Frank and agree with his concerns for the approach Lindbergh has taken with their traffic expansion. Frank has had the courage to stamp his name on everything. The rest of us have been reluctant to give our names as we see the backlash Frank gets. And why is that? Why when someone voices their opinion, must they be personally attacked? Lindbergh School District gave all of us one proposed traffic expansion plan for Long School. They said it was the best option, but would not present any alternatives even when Crestwood’s P&Z committee recommended it. How can we all be so certain this is the best option if nothing else was ever presented? Sappington Road has a light, 4-5 lanes, shoulders and a reduced speed limit. Eddie & Park does not. The accommodations Lindbergh is saying they made to be “good neighbors,” are the following:
    1) They were originally going to exit 2-3 buses and any cars out of our subdivision
    2) They were also going to use Doercrest drive as an entrance.
    We informed them of the site limitations when exiting and entering Doercrest and requested a traffic study to be done. They said they would not pay for a traffic study and that we gave them the traffic information they needed. Lindbergh officials came out and looked at the traffic one morning along with a bus driver, and then changed the plan to bus exit only. They told us later that the buses sit higher and can see better. So, the original plan had nothing to do with separating bus and car traffic. The whole story was never given to the public or even Long School parents. You have received bits and pieces that sell their idea. I am quite certain many would understand the “bullying and intimidation” notion if you would have been at these “private” meetings they held with Doercrest Manors. Only a handful of us were invited, but many more got word and attended. Again, we fully support Long School’s expansion, but do not support using Doercrest as an exit route.

  • Tony Kennedy

    Long buses could loop back out onto a buses exit only curb cut on Sappington at the south end of the new sports field. This seems to be the safest alternative. It would separate the buses and exit out onto a commercial street and not cut thru a residential street. The only negative would be the new sport field would be more narrow, but shouldn’t we put safety for long and Doercrest ahead of sports?

  • Jake

    I am a tax payer in the district too. I support the decision by the district and I live off of E & P. Hey Frank, post the petition. Let’s see how many folks on the petition live on your street or even on Eddie and Park. Black out their names and address number. Keep the street names. How many of them have children who attend Long. How many of them are impacted by the buses. I could get 150 friends and family along with my neighbors to sign a petition to support something too. I haven’t heard any parents with kids on the bus express safety concerns. Don’t you think they would be the loudest voices if they thought exiting on Sappington was the safer choice? Hey, I get it, you don’t want the buses on your street. The district disagrees. I disagree. Does that make me a bully too?

  • Frank Ruzicka

    Jake,

    This debate sounds just like the discussion I had last year online on The Patch.

    We asked residents of the Lindbergh School District of voter age to sign, plain and simple. The school board members are elected by the residents of the Lindbergh School District. We didn’t limit it just to parents or only neighborhood residents or even just Crestwood residents. Did we have people who would not sign, sure. We went door to door, collecting 150 names, addresses, phone numbers and signatures and presented those to the people who were making the decision; the elected officials of the Lindbergh Board of Education

    There is no need to post our petition online, I am happy to show it to you in person. I don’t hide behind a fake name, everyone knows who I am, where I live, in fact my name, picture and phone number is on a billboard at Hwy 21 & Lindbergh. Feel free to call me, we can meet at The Barn have a cup of coffee and discuss our different points of view.

    Are you a bully, I don’t know I have never met you. Expressing your opinion doesn’t make you a bully. Did we as a neighborhood feel bullied by the school district, yes. I am not going to debate faceless, nameless individuals who throw accusations at me for having an opinion and expressing my views. Anyone can call me and I will sit down and discuss the matter honestly and openly.

  • tim

    If the parents of the children on the buses believe they are safe why is it your responsibility to say they aren’t? Why do you believe your opinion on their child’s safety is the answer? Are they ALL wrong?. Long parents appear to be fairly educated people. I’m one, my engineer neighbor is one, my engineer friend is one, their kids ride the bus, they believe it to be safer. Do you believe that the bus company is going to put kids and their employees in harms way? No way! I can’t imagine the liability if that were the case. If exiting onto Sappington was the safer exit, the bus company would take that stand. They are the experts on bus safety.

    I get it, you didn’t have 5/6 buses on your street and now you do. Change is hard.

    Tim is my real name and no thanks on the open invite for coffee.

  • Braden

    Not surprised you don’t want to meet, Tim. You don’t have the courage to come out from behind your keyboard and have a civil discussion. All you can do is belittle and throw accusations. Exactly the reason why I don’t send my kids to Lindbergh.

Comments are closed.