When Timothy Tretter drops his children off at the bus stop on Gandy Boulevard he's one of many parents fed up with people passing a stopped school bus.
Nearly every day he shoots cell phone video of about 15 elementary school-age children waiting along busy Gandy Boulevard near the intersection of San Martin Boulevard Northeast to get on the bus.
The video clearly shows cars blowing by a stopped school bus. The speed limit is 55 mph.
"This is a highway,” Tretter said. “This isn't supposed to be for kids getting off and on the bus."
Tretter drops the kids off in the morning. The children’s mom, Andrea Robinson, gets them in the afternoon. She and other moms run out into the street to make sure people see the stop sign on the school bus.
"It’s just dangerous. So many people text and drive. We're scared it just takes that one person to not pay attention and go off the road,” Robinson said. “We don't want that to happen to our children.
“The only way people stop is when I walk out in the lane that is stopped and actually waive my hands out so that the other lane would see it so they'd stop. I just want my children to get safely on the bus."
Robinson and the other parents who live in near Twin Cities Mobile Home Park say they’ve been dealing with this for two years. They say they’re fed up. They’ve contacted the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and the school district.
"Us and other parents tried taking it into their own hands,” Robinson said. “It wasn't until the media intervened and had them do their job that anyone did anything."
There are now officers patrolling the bus stop several times a week. Tretter says drivers only stop for the bus when police officers are there.
"People will stop when it hits their pocket,” Tretter said. “Other than that, they are never going to stop no matter how many warnings you get."
Deputies have ticketed at least 10 drivers at about $271 per violation. While it’s some improvement, these parents say it’s not enough.
"I think they need to have some sort of sign out here further back that brings caution to, ‘hey the bus stops up here,’" Robinson said.
After getting several complaints last year, the school district's transportation department moved the bus stop from a little further down the road to its current this location on Gandy Boulevard. Children now have a wider shoulder to get on and off the bus and parents can park on a side street nearby.
Parents would like the bus stop moved again, to a side road with less traffic. The transportation department has agreed to take another look at the route. In the meantime, law enforcement will continue to patrol during pick-up and drop-off times.
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