Federal dollars used to help kids walk to school safely.
By Noel McLaren (Action News)
ORANGE PARK, Fla. —
Jennifer Harris walks her two grade-school sons to class whenever she can.
"Last year it was every day," she said.
But she says there's a step missing in her family's steps through Orange Park -- sidewalks -- and it's become a dangerous concern in the community.
"I mean as many hit-and-runs have been going on, so more sidewalks means you don't have to walk in the roads," she said.
The North Florida Transportation planning organization says they have a fix and it's coming from federal dollars. The local group is using $1.3 million over the next three years to study and add sidewalk near schools in Clay, Duval, St. Johns and Nassau counties.
"We're keeping this targeted to very close proximity to schools schools that may have safety issues, even associated issues certainly would draw even greater emphasis," said TPO executive director, Jeff Sheffield.
The project, aptly named "School Safety Walks," will also aim to get more families like the Harris family walking to class, encouraging a healthy lifestyle.
"If there's no sidewalk, there is no walking, so the idea that you provide it hopefully increases some of that," said Sheffield.
Right now the TPO is studying the sidewalks and plan on making a decision about which ones will be constructed come September.