Safer School Routes

Story Highlights:

  • Two Athens schools will receive route safety upgrades
  • $300,000 was approved for the programs
  • Georgia has seen an increase in pedestrian fatalities

Athens, GA- Some Athens kids will soon have a safer walk to school. New pedestrian and traffic upgrades are in the works around town.

Kate Fuller volunteers as a mentor once a week at Barrow Elementary. She says the school is located near one of Athens’ busiest intersections and is sometimes concerned about the safety of her students as they walk from home to class. Soon, she will have less to worry about.

Last Tuesday, The Athen’s Board of Commission approved $300,000 for The Pedestrian Safety and Safe Routes School Program. This is in part funded by the SPLOST one cent sales tax approved in May 2011.

The initiative includes more sidewalks, flashing crosswalks, and radar speed check signs outside local schools.

Barrow Elementary isn’t the only school gaining from these funds. Classic City High School Principal, Kelly Girtz, was able to utilize his position as Athens Commissioner to plan sidewalks along his school’s busy roads. Girtz says students that often walk along the highway to after school programs and part-time jobs have expressed concern for their safety.

Just last September a 79-year-old crossing guard was hit by a car at one of the intersections adjacent to Barrow Elementary.

In general, Georgia has seen an increase in pedestrian fatalities from 147 in 2008 to 167 in 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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