A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

All Matawan-Aberdeen Students Should Get Bus Service When Sidewalks Are Impassible

I have no idea how our kids who have to walk to school can be expected to make their way when mounds of snow block our sidewalks and ice and slush (and cars and trucks) make walking in the street treacherous. Just take a drive along Cliffwood Avenue or Matawan Avenue and scope out the mounds of snow along the roadside.

In Aberdeen, the Revised General Ordinances charge the Department of Public Works with clearing ice and snow from our streets but not from our sidewalks. And they don't require property owners to clear their sidewalks either. And many don't.

I understand that we've had an unusually large amount of snow and it may be difficult for some folks to clear their walks. But if we accept that the sidewalks may be impassible at times, then there must be another solution for the kids to get to school under those circumstances. And a lack of budgeted funds to pay for that transportation can't be a consideration.. The school district should provide bus service to the kids who live within a mile of the schools on such days.

I'm not the only one concerned with this situation. Check out this comment posted at CBS New York early Wednesday morning.


Why is it that they are telling everyone to stay home unless it is absolutely necessary but yet they expect our children to either be bused or walk in this stuff to school? I live in Monmouth County and my kids walk to school, the sidewalks are not cleared and my kids would have to walk in the street to get there. Does board of ed really think that is safe?
February 2, 2011 at 7:13 am


  1. Common sense should dictate that people shovel their walks. Of course some walks won't be shoveled, those of the elderly, or disabled, for instance. Also, vacant properties may not get shoveled. As long as I've lived here, almost 10 years, we've had bad storms like the recent ones and nothing really changes. I agree that the kids shouldn't have to walk in the street, but I disagree on the busing. Why can't the parents drive them on the few days that the sidewalks are impassable? Why must the government solve all the problems? Heck, in Cliffwood Beach there aren't any sidewalks, so those houses should shovel a path in the street, right? The bottom line is that common sense should prevail. And maybe friends should help neighbors like where I live. And for those houses that are vacant, maybe the neighbors can all lend a hand and clear the sidewalks so their kids can walk to school.

  2. Wednesday morning the streets were icy and I saw kids slipping and sliding, climbing mounds of snow, stumbling from semi-cleared sidewalks into the street to get past uncleared portions, all on their way to school. I was scared to death and I only had to walk about three hundred feet.

    We all need to realize we have an obligation to our kids whenwe send them off to school or summon them to attend classes. If the district says school is in session, they should consider whether the walkers can walk a mile to school. Cleared streets can't be the sole criterion. The fix is a bus, not volunteerism, not a quick ride from mommy.

    If you can't guarantee that people will clear their neighbors' walks on a timely basis out of an utter sense of community spirit - and you can't -- and if you can't guarantee that every parent that needs one will have a car available to drive their kid to school and home again -- and, again, you can't -- you must expect that kids will have to find their own way to school. Maybe Dad works and Mom doesn't have a car at home? Maybe the family is living in poverty and doesn't have a car? Maybe a single parent has a suspended license? What then? You can't generalize on the home economics of each family in the district.

    Common sense has nothing to do with a family's financial situation. And common sense won't get the walks cleared. It's simply not safe to send kids on that dangerous trek to school when sidewalks are blocked.

    I appreciated the gesture from the mayor, a public announcement suggesting that folks should pitch in and volunteer to shovel their neighbors' walks, but it's only a short term solution, not a comprehensive fix. Government is under severe pressure to keep taxes low, but it is specifically in the business of keeping us safe. if nothing else. They are in the business of fixing things when they promote public safety.

    You ought not weigh the value of our kids' welfare against the fix's possible effect on your wallet. That's unconscionable. Rigorous thinking and ethics always seem to fly out the window when money is involved.