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Confusion reigns for students waiting for school buses at 66th Street N and Fifth Avenue in St. Petersburg

Students wait for their buses at 66th Street N and Fifth Avenue in St. Petersburg on Wednesday morning.

CHRIS ZUPPA | Times

Students wait for their buses at 66th Street N and Fifth Avenue in St. Petersburg on Wednesday morning.

ST. PETERSBURG — Pinellas school officials say they are "reviewing alternatives" for what has become the district's most confusing intersection.

Transportation director Rick McBride said specifics should be worked out today regarding the bus stop at 66th Street and Fifth Avenue N, where at least eight buses stop to pick up as many as 50 students.

The area was again the scene of chaos on Wednesday as Day 2 of the new school year began.

Students from several high schools — including Pinellas Park, Dixie Hollins, Osceola and Lakewood — began arriving at the stop around 5:45 a.m. They stationed themselves on one of the four corners and hoped they were in the right spot to catch their bus.

In a repeat of what happened Tuesday, they soon were criss-crossing the bustling intersection. At least one Pinellas Park High student missed his bus because he was on the wrong corner.

School district safety officer Mary Sue Cross, who had arrived at 5:30 a.m., had to park a block away on a side street just to observe the hectic scene.

Three more transportation workers arrived around 6 a.m. They studied route sheets under the glow of street lights and called out directions, but at times seemed as confused as the students.

Meanwhile, parents continued to pull into a fire station on the southeast corner and a dentist's office on the northeast corner to drop their children off. Others simply stopped at the light — whether it was red or green — let their kids out, and kept going.

Ron Schnell waited with his daughter, a Lakewood High sophomore.

"I'm insulted," Schnell said of the district's presence at the corner. "Why weren't they here yesterday?"

There was one bright spot: Students waiting for the bus to Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle were moved to a new stop at a PSTA bus shelter about 200 feet north of the intersection.

That pleased Teal Anderson, who watched as her 12-year-old daughter walked with a dozen other middle schoolers toward the shelter. Several minutes later, Anderson tensed as a city bus pulled up to the stop and opened its doors.

Worried that her daughter would get on, she only started breathing again as the bus rumbled away with no school kids on board.

Confusion reigns for students waiting for school buses at 66th Street N and Fifth Avenue in St. Petersburg 08/26/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 9:36pm]
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