Officials from Southwest Ranches said Tuesday they warned the Broward County School District about how the gates separating the town from Pembroke Pines could cause problems for bus drivers.
Parents were worried after realizing Monday the bus drivers couldn't enter Southwest Ranches near the Pembroke Pines border. They said it's too risky to pick up and drop off their children along streets as busy as Griffin Road.
"I don't feel safe to our house," said Melissa Vonfiglio.
But last month, gates were built at Southwest 199th Avenue, 202nd Avenue, and 205th Avenue, giving parents no choice.
"A 13-year-old little girl -- I'm not having it. It's not safe. It's not right," said Vonfiglio.
Broward County School Transportation officials had abandoned the old route, where the buses would come off Griffin Road at 205th Avenue, zigzag south through both communities, picking up and dropping off students, and wind up back on Griffin Road a few blocks away.
"We shouldn't be standing here discussing this now because it shouldn't have been an issue," said Southwest Ranches Town Administrator Andy Berns.
Berns said the town warned Broward School District officials in January about the gates, adding they sent several letters advising the district to take another look at the route.
"A bus could have easily come in off Griffin Road at 199th, come down here, pick up kids here," said Berns while driving into the neighborhood. "You can see, we're surrounded by single-family homes. Pick up the kids here without making the kids walk all the way to Griffin Road."
In a letter obtained by Local 10, Chester Tindall, the Director of Student Transportation, told town officials that the route would need to be changed because buses had limited access and were not able to turn around and maneuver safely.
"All the cul-de-sacs have residential properties where garbage is picked up by garbage trucks. Bulk waste trucks are able to get in and navigate the streets without any issues, with any problems, and I would expect if they're able to do it without a problem, then a school bus could do the same thing.
Parents said the solution is simple -- give bus drivers a clicker to pass through the two communities as emergency vehicles do.
A meeting between town officials and school board members is scheduled for this week.