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Published: Thursday, 8/26/2010

<br>TPS families battle traffic on walk to school following bus route cuts


Commuters raced through the intersection where Walbridge Elementary School students crossed Thursday morning to get to the first day of school.

At about 8:30 a.m., the Toledo Public Schools students and their parents crossed the Anthony Wayne Trail in south Toledo at an intersection brimming with rush hour traffic and also the site of four accidents just Thursday morning.

A police officer said it was the norm for that intersection, where more students will be crossing this year because of TPS cuts to bus service that affect 5,000 students, or about one in five across the district.

A crossing guard was working at the intersection Thursday morning, but only because the school system found an extra $824,000 in the transportation budget last week. All the crossing guards had been laid off to help close a $39 million budget.

David Brooks worked third shift at BAX Global and then drove home to help walk his two young children to school.

"I don't like this neighborhood; there's always something going on here," Mr. Brooks said as he and his wife and other members of the family formed a walking caravan to Walbridge. "Walking isn't a bad thing, but crossing the Trail is too dangerous. Something bad is going to happen."

The walking zones were also extended to two miles to save money, meaning more students were without a bus ride to school Thursday.

Parents across the district walked or drove their children to school Thursday morning.

Some students walked on their own.

School officials reported traffic backed up at different schools as more cars arrived to drop off their children.

A welcome station with drinking water for winded parents who made the walk was set up at Walbridge Elementary.

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