By Larry Austin
Island Dispatch Editor
For just a few dollars, Islanders can speed up a safe pickup and drop-off of children for school.
Grand Island Central School District Transportation Supervisor Theresa Alizadeh is advising Island homeowners to make sure they have visible mailbox numbers in advance of school, which begins next week.
Gui’s Ace Hardware on Whitehaven Road sells mailbox numbers for cheap, Alizadeh said. “It’s not a big purchase, but it would be so assisting to us as school bus drivers are learning routes and the substitutes are covering new routes all the time.”
Reflective house numbers will allow drivers unfamiliar with a new route to find their stop faster.
“It’s getting very dark in the morning again, and our drivers will be out their picking up students at 6:15 in the morning,” she noted. School starts Sept. 5.
A driver unfamiliar with a route is “already dealing with distracted drivers, you’re already dealing with people who are upset drivers who are late for work,” Alizadeh said.
She pointed out school bus drivers come in for trial runs in the daylight hours before school starts in an effort to familiarize themselves with the route. “We are looking for it on the mailbox. That’s our first sight that we are looking for, and whether the mailbox is near the house or if it’s on the road, that is our first go-to visual,” Alizadeh said.
To compound matters this year, buses could get out late because ongoing Baseline Road repaving will reduce the road in front of Sidway Elementary School and the transportation garage to one lane. The county, which is repaving the road, estimates working in front of the school Sept. 3.
And it’s not a benefit to just school buses, but also to emergency vehicles and the post office.