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Bus passengers at the park and ride lot sometimes wander into the school for a break.
The Roanoke Times | File 2013
The proximity of a commercial bus stop to Falling Branch Elementary in Montgomery County remains a concern for county school leaders.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
CHRISTIANSBURG — Montgomery County school officials said Tuesday that they continue to seek to separate Falling Branch Elementary School and a neighboring state park and ride lot used as a bus stop by Megabus and other shuttle operators including the Smart Way bus.
"We know that it's in the wrong spot," Montgomery school board Chairman Wendell Jones said about the park and ride lot.
The close distance between the Christiansburg school and the park and ride lot has attracted attention in recent weeks after reports that bus passengers sometimes wander into the school looking for a bathroom or a drink of water or a place to charge their cellphones.
"The school itself is safe," schools Superintendent Brenda Blackburn told school board members. "The issue we have had is the close proximity of the park and ride leads it to be a place that travelers go to seek assistance. ... The use of that lot has exceeded the design capacity."
The Christiansburg Town Council recently assigned a police officer to watch the school during class hours. New signs and temporary fencing have also gone up between the parking lot and the school, Blackburn said.
The superintendent said Megabus has been receptive to discussions of how to address the problem.
Jones said one suggestion has been for the bus company to change the times for stops on its runs between Knoxville, Tenn., and Washington, D.C., so that they do not occur when school is in session. So far that has not happened, he said.
Another possibility is for the county and state to relocate the entrances to the elementary school and park and ride lot so that they are farther apart, Jones said.
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