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Paths to better safety

City and school officials will soon consider a proposal to split 20 percent of the cost for sidewalk improvements near Wilson and Pecan Creek elementary schools in Denton.

With an estimated total cost of $471,120, the project could be 80 percent covered by the North Central Texas Council of Governments as part of an initiative to assist in improving paths near and around school sites in the region. The entities would each put in $47,112 for the sidewalk improvements if approved.

“I hope it provides better connectivity between neighborhoods to schools,” said Rod Reeves, the Denton school district’s facilities and planning coordinator. Reeves also said the collaborative effort between the three entities would be “mutually beneficial to all constituents.”

Improvements could be slated for an area near Pecan Creek Elementary going north on Swisher Road. Improvements also could be made to Hanover Drive facing north toward Wilson Elementary.

Other projects under consideration — near Guyer High School, Nelson Elementary and Ryan High School — were delayed due to pending road construction, which could take up additional property and nullify any sidewalk improvements.

We think this is a prudent use of monies from all sides with the council of governments earmarking funds for safety and the two local entities sharing a small part of the total cost.

But most importantly, the school children have a safer route for travel to and from schools, the drivers will be less unnerved by the possibility of darting youngsters and the neighborhood residents can use the sidewalks to walk with their children or even use them to walk around the block for exercise purposes.

The point is, sidewalks promote safety in high pedestrian-areas, and there are no more pedestrian-heavy areas than schools.

With a cost-sharing program such as this, the city and school do not have to foot the entire bill and can simultaneously address an ongoing need.

It’s the best of solutions for all concerned and, in these times of budget constraints, a blessing in concrete disguise.