Where the Sidewalk Ends: Parents Concerned Children Have to Walk in Street to Get to School

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

Parents say a lack of sidewalks near a local elementary school has them concerned about the safety of their kids. Now, county officials say help is on the way.

Sabrina Hoyt is the mother of a Thunder Mountain Elementary first grader. Because she and her family live so close to the school, which is located on F 1/2 Road, her son's only options to get there are to get a ride or walk. But "there's no way I'd let him walk," says Hoyt.

Along the route her son would have to take to get from their home to his school, the sidewalk quickly disappears, which would force him to walk in a bike lane along F 1/2 Road.

"The shoulder space is not adequate for the children to walk safely," she says. "Kids are only separated from the cars by a white line, so they're always close, no matter where they're walking."

She says she's concerned because kids who do walk end up on the road before cars reach the school zone, where the speed limit is 40 miles per hour. She says she's also seen cars stopped in the bike lane, which might cause youngsters to wander into the road as they try to walk around.

"I think any person with kids, if they saw a kid walking down that street would be concerned," says Hoyt. "It's a scary place for kids to be walking."

Mesa County Engineering Director Mike Meininger says he is very aware of these concerns, receiving many phone calls and emails about the issue from parents, community members, and even the principal of the school.

"Our priorities are always safety," says Meininger. "And a high need area is always around schools."

He says that's why plans to build sidewalks in that area were added to Mesa County's list of capital improvement projects.

"This project for F 1/2 Road by Thunder Mountain, actually from 30 Road to 31 Road is in our capital plan," he says.

The plan would expand F 1/2 Road to three lanes and create sidewalks on both sides of the street. But officials say because of all the steps that have to take place to make the $6 million project a reality, sidewalks likely won't be there for three to five more years.

"There's just a lot of needs on the capital plan and we're moving on our highest safety priorities," said Meininger. "This one, we're pleased to get it in the program."

Hoyt says she just hopes it happens sooner than later.

"I don't want any kid to get hit there," she says.

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