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MURRAY BOARD COMMISSIONS DISTRICTWIDE STUDY ON BUSING

Concerns about children walking along busy streets leading to Parkside Elementary School have prompted the Murray School Board to request a districtwide study on busing.

An ad hoc committee of about 15 people, including Utah Department of Transportation representatives, will study the entire district, not just the area surrounding the school, located at 5175 S. 495 East, said Superintendent Ron Stephens.Parents of children who attend Parkside are concerned that their youngsters must cross the busy intersection of 4800 South and Atwood Boulevard or must walk along State Street, Big Cottonwood Creek and 4800 and 4500 South.

Parents have complained that 4800 South and Atwood don't have sidewalks and that drivers' visibility is hampered by overhanging trees and shrubs. Approximately 114 children must walk to school, said Dennis Poole, an attorney representing parents.

"I'm very concerned about the safety of these students. I want something done, and I am looking forward to the committee's report. This is not a simple problem. It deals with some safety factors, Stephens said.

The committee's findings will be presented to the school board next fall, said board member Bruce Cutler. He said it has been 10 years since the district evaluated transportation needs. It's time for a re-evaluation, he said, noting that some of the issues should also be considered by Murray City.

Facilities such as construction of sidewalks, semaphores and landscaping should be the city's responsibility, Cutler said.

Robert Ault, the school district's special services supervisor, said the problem will be carefully studied. In a 1980 study, the area in question was 17th on a list of 23 areas studied on traffic concerns, he said.

Ault told the Deseret News that students are not required to walk along State Street or Cottonwood Creek. He said State and Cottonwood are generally the boundaries of the area in question. He said Murray City provides school crossing guards at the intersections of 4800 South and Atwood and at Atwood and Vine Street.

Busing children to Parkside would require the purchase of two new buses, which would cost more than $100,000, an amount that would cramp the district's budget, district officials said.