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Schools: Tickets add up in crackdown at bus driveway

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

There’s no firm count of the tickets written by deputies since a crackdown on cars using the bus entrance to Waccamaw Intermediate School began this month. But it’s enough to get the attention of drivers and school officials.

The Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office said at least 11 tickets were written since it began enforcement two weeks ago, and two shifts had not reported numbers as of Wednesday. The bus entrance on St. Paul’s Place was the subject of “numerous complaints,” according to the sheriff’s office.

“We never called anyone,” School Superintendent Randy Dozier said. “I thought it was fine.”

Chief Doug Eggiman of Midway Fire and Rescue said the department asked the sheriff’s office for help when cars using the bus entrance began backing up in front of the fire station on St. Paul’s Place. “How it’s enforced really isn’t our call,” he said. There are some people that are upset with that. It’s unfortunate.”

The source of the traffic is parents who are looking for a way to get from Wildcat Way in front of the school to Willbrook Boulevard, or vice versa, depending on whether they’re dropping off or picking up students.

But the enforcement has also caught up school staff who are asked to park in the area accessed by the bus driveway, Dozier said.

“People are upset,” he said. “What we are trying to do is get everybody together to find a happy medium.”

The school owns the driveway, but the sheriff’s office has jurisdiction. St. Paul’s Place is a public street.

Eggiman said the fire department and the school work closely. Both have put employees out at the bus drive entrance to direct cars elsewhere. “It’s gradually gotten worse over the years,” he said.

Midway noted one delay of two minutes on an ambulance call due to traffic on St. Paul’s that blocked the fire station.

“All of a sudden the fire station is shut down because we can’t get out,” he said. The situation has improved since deputies began writing tickets, he added.

Dozier said the district is willing to post a crossing guard at the bus driveway, but thinks the problem is tied into other traffic problems.

“What really pushed some of that traffic on St. Paul’s is the Sandy Island Road left turn is really backing up,” he said. “It’s probably a larger issue than just a school issue.”

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