Parents fear it will take a death for authorities to take their concerns about the "jammed" layout of Links Ave seriously.
A group of Arataki parents first took their concerns to a Tauranga City Council meeting in March, but six months later they say little has been done and the council is not listening.
But the council says the street layout is "operating well", has been checked by qualified, independent safety experts who found it was appropriate, with minor changes made as necessary.
Last year the council removed on-street parking to make way for a bus lane on one side and a widened shared pathway on the other.
It left no physical barrier and little distance between oncoming traffic and kids on foot, bikes and scooters jostling for space on the pathway.
The three nearby schools - Mount Maunganui Intermediate and College, and Omanu Primary School - have a combined roll around 2500.
Arataki father-of-three Michael Dance asked the Bay of Plenty Times to join his school run last Monday. Other parents met on the route also shared their concerns.
Dance said Mondays were the worst as rubbish collections meant kids had to negotiate bins as well as power poles, bus stops and cars parked on the grass verge.
The number of kids on the shared footpath was much smaller than usual with the college having a teacher-only day.
But even so, parents pointed out examples of their main issues: The path can become clogged - especially where narrowed by obstacles - with kids pushed towards the kerb, where there is no room for error.
"There used to be parking on both sides of the road, so if a kid fell over they would fall into parked cars. Now they will fall off straight into oncoming traffic," Dance said.
He said the council was trying to do too much in a small residential street with buses and a pedestrian strategy on top of it being a commuter rat-run to avoid major roadworks on parallel Maunganui Rd/State Highway 2.
"They are just trying to jam too much into a little road."
James Petterson, whose 5-year-old daughter was biking to school, said the council should listen to users.
"We are the experts on this. We ride it every day."
Parent Brendon Smith said he felt like people were just "waiting for something to happen".
"The day someone gets run over is the day they will start listening."
Dance said parents wanted the bus lane removed between Ascot Drive north and the intersection with Golf Rd where the pathway was busiest, plus greater separation between pedestrians and moving vehicles.
The council could then focus on longer-term planning and consultation.
"We simply want a safe journey to and from school for our kids."
He said they wanted action before summer, when more kids would be walking and biking.
"The council has done its safety plans based on a quiet day in the middle of winter."
Brendan Bisley, Tauranga City Council's new director of transport, said safety experts did not base all decisions on a single day.
"They look at the street, its layout and mix of users and they base their assessment on their knowledge and experience of that site as well as similar streets, plus their professional understanding about where accidents and conflicts are likely to happen."
He said Links Ave had been reviewed "a number of times" by the council, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and independent experts.
"These reviews have confirmed the layout is suitable for the street."
A few safety changes had been made and council Travel Safe staff had been training school children to use the path safely.
He said the bus lane was installed because a lot of people were using Links Ave as a rat-run and causing congestion that delayed buses.
The council could not control general traffic volumes, and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council set the bus routes.
"The changes we've made to Links Ave allow schoolchildren to walk and ride away from the main traffic flow."
He said the bus lane could save buses up to two minutes on a journey. Removing the bus lane could invite more cars back to the road and increase congestion while also making the "traffic environment less safe".
He said before the bus lane was put in, there was a lot of activity around the school with parents dropping and picking up children.
The bus lane removed safety issues such as doors opening into bikes and drivers not seeing pedestrians or cyclists. If it was taken away, the space would likely go back to parking and the issues would return.
He said bus services had introduced a voluntary 30km/h speed limit along Links Ave. Whether Links Ave remained a bus route long-term would be decided as part of the Transport System Plan project.
He referred a question about the numbers of people who rode buses down Links Ave in the morning peak versus pathway users to the regional council, which has been contacted for comment.