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Safety issues raised red flags

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By The Staff

I could have spoken up about how odd it was to be putting so many people at risk, but I didn’t. I’ll take some blame for that. I’m sorry. Why didn’t I speak up when I noticed that we wanted our youth who ride buses to cross in front of the school bus, but we wanted them to cross behind Atomic City Transit buses? Why didn’t I speak up when I noticed that vehicle drivers must stop for school buses but can whiz past Atomic City Transit (ACT) buses? Why didn’t I speak up when I noticed that the previous system’s Los Alamos bus drivers were ticketed for stopping in places not signed as bus stops, but ACT bus drivers stopped wherever they needed to in order to drop my sorry self off?

I saw three “error-likely” situations and I didn’t say a word. I messed up. But I’ll speak up now.

First, we are asking our youth to remember two different rules for two different bus systems — cross  in front of the school bus but cross behind the ACT bus. This is risky.

Second, we are asking our car drivers to remember two different rules for two different bus systems – stop or don’t bother to stop. This is risky.

Third, we have encouraged our ACT bus drivers to break the law — how many months did Los Alamos police see the ACT bus drivers stopping ad hoc without issuing them tickets? This was risky.

Please, let’s stop putting people at risk. As pleasant as it has been for me not to walk around the block in order to catch a bus in front of my house, I’d rather crawl to the slightly farther bus stop than lose any child under the wheels of a vehicle. As convenient as it is for me to drive past a stopped bus, I’d rather spend a moment pausing for ACT buses than overrun a pedestrian crossing. As wonderful as public transportation is, I’d rather spend my share of the world’s gasoline on my own private car trips to town than encourage bus drivers to stop illegally.

Can some expert in human engineering please look at this situation? Don’t blame the police. Don’t blame the ACT. Don’t blame the car driver. Law enforcement has already assessed the crime but that’s not the issue here. The issue is how we can behave better. Do temporary and official bus stop signs solve the problem? I’m not sure; I’m not a sociologist.

Good neighbors in Los Alamos, let’s tell our councilors, our police and our public servants when something looks dangerous, or we will all, like me, carry this sort of guilty conscience forever. I’m sorry I didn’t speak up.

David Yeamans

Los Alamos