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Hazard to Children on School Buses

This letter concerns parents of students who are attending or will attend Arthur E. Wright Middle School on Las Virgenes Road in Calabasas. The student population will be nearly 800 by this September and is expected to climb to 1,000 by 1990. All students come to or leave this campus either by automobile or school bus, and the only entrances and exits are off Las Virgenes Road.

The roadway in front of the school is two-lane, with a center turning or passing lane. Even though 25 m.p.h. is the posted speed limit, most automobiles and trucks roar past the school at 50 to 60 m.p.h., making it nearly impossible for a school bus to enter Las Virgenes Road with any degree of safety.

In December this safety problem will be compounded with the advent of the Ventura Freeway construction project. Las Virgenes Road will become a prime alternate route to Los Angeles for those drivers wishing to avoid the construction area.

During the school year, some eight to 10 buses loaded with children will have to enter Las Virgenes Road every school day between 3:30 and 4 p.m. These buses will be facing a daily threat of being hit broadside.

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Just last week a school bus was struck broadside by a speeding police car. The picture of the bus interior was shocking. A portion of the roof had caved in and would have crushed children if any had been present. Since the bus was tipped over, the children on one side would have tumbled down on top of the children on the other side, causing numerous injuries. Since there are no seat belts and the buses are packed with three children per seat, one can clearly see the potential for a real disaster in front of Arthur E. Wright Middle School.

What is needed, preferably by September but absolutely by December, is a traffic signal (such as those emergency signals used by the Fire Department) placed on Las Virgenes Road in front of the school. This signal could be activated by the weight of each school bus and would stop traffic in both directions only long enough for the school bus to make a safe turn onto the traffic lanes of Las Virgenes Road.

BOB AND DIANE VENABLE

Agoura Hills


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