‘No sidewalk, no shoulder’: Mom concerned about child’s walk to bus stop on fast road

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. -- Sarah Koetje said walking her daughter and two other little ones down a 55 mile an hour road with no sidewalk was already dangerous. With snow on its way, she said the snowbanks will force them to walk in the road.

"In the morning and then after school, this road is just crazy busy," Koetje said. "People don't go slow... it's 55 [miles per hour], but they go faster than that down these roads."

Koetje said she started the school year getting her three kids up in the morning to walk her oldest to the bus stop about an eighth of a mile down Baldwin Street.

"[Drivers] don't move over when you're walking down the road, and it's just kind of scary," she said.

Her 5-year-old daughter, Belle, attends kindergarten at Bauer Elementary. Koetje said she's asked the transportation department to pick Belle up at the end of her driveway. However, she said she was told all the department could do was switch to the other side of the road so she wouldn’t have to cross. Koetje said that doesn't fix the dangers of walking on the road, so she’s been driving Belle to school since late September.

"She likes to ride the bus. So I want her to ride the bus," Koetje said. "I can bring her to school which is more of a hassle. I mean, it's not far. It's just... loading the kids up and bringing her every morning."

Koetje started a petition on change.org to gather support for her cause.

District superintendent Doug VanderJagt told FOX 17 the district hasn't heard from Koetje since Sept. 21 when she was told she can go through the appeals process. Koetje said she didn't do that because transportation staff gave her no hope.

"And he said, 'But honestly you're wasting your time' is what we were told because the same outcome would come of it. Nothing," she recalled.

Koetje said, "I would love to get it changed. That's the end goal is to get it back to the end of our driveway so it's safe and to keep it there every year so [when] my other kids get older, we don't have to deal with the same situation."

She said the district picked her daughter up for preschool at the end of her driveway last year. This year, that changed.

VanderJagt declined an interview. However, again, he said Koetje hasn't filed an appeal. He added that the buses can't stop to pick up every child at the end of their driveway because of timing and staffing.

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2 comments

  • Vast Right Wing Conspiracy

    She has the option of moving to a different house in a different neighbourhood that has sidewalks, but NO, she wants the world to revolve around her.

  • Jess

    My daughter (who is 5) was let off her bus earlier than what she was supposed to on a half day. Her bus driver let her and another 5 year old boy off the bus without any parents present, at an enterance to an apartment complex with over 7 buildings within the complex along with a pond and next to a busy road. Thankfully they walked straight to the little boys grandparents apartment, but they were still alone for over a half hour before the little boys grand parents found them and thankfully they brought my daughter back to the bus stop because upon calling the school to see where the bus was, the school replied that it must just be running late. When in reality the bus was super early and the kids were left alone! I called the bus garage to talk to whomever was in charge and they called me back saying that it is the new policy to let students off the bus no matter what. TWO FIVE YEAR OLDS DO NOT MAKE A TEN YEAR OLD! We trust these people to bring our children home safe to us, and to use common sense. The man I talked to said they will put a plan in place, yet I have heard nothing. And it’s been about 3 weeks since the incident.