No sidewalks mean children bus to school just blocks away - KCTV5

No sidewalks mean children bus to school just blocks away

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They live just a few blocks from their school, but children in one Kansas City neighborhood have to ride the bus because of a lack of sidewalks.

Tim Skinner and his grandchildren watch drivers drive pass them each day while they wait for the bus on North Fremont.

“I’m just afraid one of these babies is going to get run over,” Skinner said.

Skinner and his grandchildren, Fabian and Dominic Gonzalez, live within one block of Maplewood Elementary at the corner of North Fremont and Northeast 50th Street, but the school district requires them to take the bus for their own safety.

“I’m good with them walking to school or riding their bicycles to school if we had proper sidewalks,” said Skinner.

After Skinner gets his last hugs at the bus stop, he’s already walked nearly the same distance it would be to the school. North Fremont and other streets around Maplewood don’t have a sidewalk and have been deemed ‘too hazardous’ by North Kansas City School District officials.

“The hazardous routes are put in place to ensure the safety of our students and that’s the number one priority in North Kansas City,” said North Kansas City School District’s assistant superintendent Dan Clemens.

The district is concerned about forcing 50 children in the neighborhood to walk in the street as drivers fight the rising sun in their eyes in the morning.

Clemons suggests the obvious solution.

“Putting in sidewalks that are on the other sides of the ditches that allow our students to walk to and from school,” said Clemons.

Kansas City's public works department has taken the first step towards getting kids like Skinners' to school safely on foot. They’ve invested $75,000 for an engineering study. However, that money is a drop in the bucket compared to the estimated $570,000 it will take to get sidewalks.

“I believe that’s a good investment for our community,” Skinner said.

For parents, grandparents and district officials getting kids to and from school safely is their first priority. Getting a sidewalk will achieve their goals and could also save the district money.

“If we were able to have a strong sidewalk system in our area we could free up two buses that take those students to school every day,” Clemons said.

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