A stopped school bus, with sign out and lights flashing

A stopped school bus, with sign out and lights flashing Credit: James Carbone

William Floyd Parkway is heavily traveled, and northbound and southbound lanes are divided by grassy medians of 20 feet to maybe 100 feet wide. Much of the median is heavily treed where you cannot see traffic in the opposite direction.

Recently, I noticed many near-accidents. They involve a school bus stopping to pick up or drop off students.

Drivers going 45 miles per hour or faster might see a bus stopped with flashing red lights in the other direction. They’re unsure if they should stop. Although the bus is far across the median, which has a ditch for water runoff maybe six feet deep, some cars jam their brakes. causing other cars to jam theirs, or veer onto the shoulder.

I have been told different things about the law by police officers and bus drivers. Mostly, I’m told that unless there is a barrier dividing the highway, drivers must stop.

Is 20 feet a barrier? Or a ditch of two to six feet? What about 50 feet, flat grass but some trees?

Students almost never cross the parkway median, so the law should be clarified. Otherwise, cars will keep jamming brakes and getting rear-ended.

 — Greg Redmond, Shirley

Three ways to better American democracy

These three major suggestions could help improve our democracy.

Establish more than two political parties. How many European countries are run by only two parties? In elections, if no party wins a majority, the one with the most votes is forced to team up with at least one minority party. Those parties have to compromise to form a working system.

Create federal term limits. All members of Congress should be permitted to run for only two terms, preventing incumbents from using ploys to stay in power. This would limit big corporations’ seeking favors for campaign funding. This change would infuse Congress with new blood, which should lead to more action.

Limit campaign contributions. Elections should not be a money game. The candidate who raises the most money is not necessarily the best choice. Big corporations should not be major factors. There must be limits for everyone who wants to contribute. Violators need to be punished, maybe even with a prison sentence. Those elected would be less indebted to a few big donors and more accountable to all voters.

 — Heinz Mayer, Garden City

Raise Social Security pay, and don’t tax it

One cannot live on Social Security. It does not pay enough. And try to get a job when you are told you’re too old. It makes one feel desperate. Social Security payments should be raised more so one can live comfortably.

Also, Social Security payments should not be taxed nor should IRA distributions to people older than 72.

— Steven Ross, Kew Gardens

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