"It's definitely going to be a lot safer, kids are gonna be able to get around a whole lot easier especially over where the intersection is, it's really hard to get across in enough time with a big group of people" said Pleasant Valley High School Student Chris Dominguez-Feathers. The program Safe School Routes is designed to make busy intersections and popular walking routes safer for students by providing sidewalks, bike lanes, curbs, gutters and crosswalks. "It seems like such a simple thing, sidewalks. It's concrete, but it really separates the kids from vehicular traffic, makes them feel safer" explained Caltrans Area Engineer Heidi Borders.
85 cities out of 400 were selected to share some 24-million dollars in grants the city of Chico was one of the chosen few. A busy section of Manzanita Avenue which runs behind Marigold Elementary School, Loma Vista School, and Pleasant Valley High School will be getting a make-over. The street will get multiple bike lanes, crosswalks, sidewalks and curbs to help slow the traffic during peek hours when children are present. "Anything we can do to make our roadways safe for our kids as they're coming on campus and leaving campus, we have have so much traffic out there" said Pleasant Valley Principal John Shepherd.
And students will appreciate the added security "I think it will be really good for the students and it will be easier for us to walk around and get around without getting hit by a car" said Pleasant Valley High School student Alex Johansen. Chris Dominguez-Feathers adds "I think people are gonna want to ride bikes more to school".
The project is currently in the designing process and should begin in the summer of 2012. Once the project gets underway, the city has two years to complete it in order to meet the grant's requirements. The city of Redding was also selected for the Safe School Routes Program.