EUGENE, Ore. – Safe Routes to School and the 4J School District have added crosswalks and sidewalks around schools in the district, to make it safer for students commuting to school.
Near Gilham Elementary, they installed new ramps, signs, and striping, which created two new crosswalks near the school.
Near Howard Elementary and Kelly Middle School, they installed a new sidewalk along Grove Street and North Park Avenue. The City of Eugene also added speed bumps in the area.
"I think they are paying attention to people and their wants, and for the safety of the other kids. It's very important to them,” said Shawna Morrow, a mother whose daughters walk to school.
Sarah Mazze, the Safe Routes to School Program Coordinator, said their goal is to reduce the number of cars on the road and to promote something that is good for students’ health.
To do this, Mazze said they needed to improve infrastructure around some of the schools.
"It makes things safer,” said Jasmine Bush, a student at Gilham Elementary. “I'm pretty happy they are doing this because it's better for the school and it's better for the kids that are walking."
In total, the project cost over $370,000. It was funded through a 2013 bond measure. The 4J School District contributed $235,320, the City of Eugene about $131,966 and EWEB $3,300.
As part of a new bill passed by the Oregon Legislature in 2017, there is currently $10 million in grant money allocated to fund similar projects to improve infrastructure near schools. Cities, counties, tribes and other road authorities can apply for some of that grant money. Applications are due in October.