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Vineland To Review School Bus Routes Following Alexa Strittmatter’s Death

Vineland officials say they are reviewing school bus routes after Alexa Strittmatterwas was struck and killed and the mother of Alexa’s best friend is pushing for action.

Alexa Strittmatter
Alexa Strittmatter (Vineland Schools)

The 14-year-old was crossing Main Street on her way to her bus stop when she was hit by two cars on Oct. 30.

Mayor Ruben Bermudez tells The Press of Atlantic City  the review seeks to determine hazardous routes and aims to improve student safety. The mayor says the city also will seek federal grants to finance safety upgrades including signs, crosswalks and traffic signals.

Around 2,000 people have signed a petition created by Julie Howerton, the mother of Alexia’s best friend Shelby Watts, asking for safety improvements and bus stops that students would not have to cross a street to reach.

At this point, if I am not provided the requests that I have made, my intentions are to become (the) biggest thorn in your side,” Howerton told Board of Education members according to the Press.

Change.org, which housed the petition, took notice of the petition after more than 1,600 people signed it in the first 48 hours it was posted and included it into their Facebook and Twitter feeds. Michael Jones, senior campaign director for Change.org, tells the Courier-Post that there is now nationwide interest in how Vineland handles making safety improvements.

The Daily Journal reports that many bus stops were consolidated as a cost cutting move and and the transportation zone widened. Howerton noted that the changes were made “with full knowledge that for more than the first two months, children would be walking and crossing streets in the pitch black darkness of early morning hours.”

The Board and City Council say they are already working on safety improvements with plans to build sidewalks already on the board.

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