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.

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