Board denies request for new school bus stop

Despite the reasoning from parent Steve Marshall, the Enumclaw School District will not be stopping a school bus at 310th Street Southeast in Black Diamond to pick up his daughter and other children who live in his neighborhood.

“It’s a safety issue. It’s strictly a safety issue,” Enumclaw School Board member Cathy Dahlquist said during board discussion after a hearing at its work study session March 1. “Everyone’s determined it’s not safe. The whole thing is unfortunate.”

Marshall, who addressed the board in December, has been requesting a stop near his residence for three years. At one time, a stop was located there, but it was removed several years ago due to safety concerns. According to district officials, the county road includes a double curve with limited sight distance and heavy traffic volumes moving at 35 to 45 mph, along with other issues like overgrown vegetation and limited shoulder areas.

Marshall did not disagree with safety concerns. They are the same concerns his daughter faces, should she walk to the nearby Morgan Creek development for pickup or drop off. Creating a safe environment for his daughter to get to that stop, he said, has created a family hardship.

“It’s been an issue for our family since Day 1,” Marshall told the board.

“It’s a dangerous intersection,” said District Director of Business and Operations Randy Stocker, and a liability from risk management’s point of view. The board also had several letters from county experts who cited safety concerns with a bus stopping there.

Both the board and Marshall discussed possible solutions, but all rely on the county.

“We feel we’ve exhausted all resources,” District Transportation Supervisor Everett Cunningham told the board. “I think we’ve gone the extra mile to work with the parents in the area.”

Stocker concurred, “It’s doesn’t feel good to say that.”

Marshall said it’s unfortunate for his daughter, who is now an eighth-grade student and soon will be old enough to drive herself to school, but he had hoped for a solution to the situation to help others down the road.

“She will go to school and we will continue to find a way,” he said. “We don’t disagree with the district, there are issues.”

“We feel like we’ve done everything we can do from our end and we just can’t offer a stop there,” Board President Nancy Merrill said, noting the district has four or five similar situations that also do not have stops due to safety issues. “We’ve thoughtfully and carefully examined the options. The most safe option is student pickup at the Morgan Creek site.”

“I think we’d all hoped for a simple solution for Mr. Marshall’s child and all the children there,” board member Corey Cassell said. “I wish there was something we could do.”

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