Schools, transportation group identifying hazardous conditions f - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Schools, transportation group identifying hazardous conditions for students walking to school

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - Soon your child's walk to to school could become safer. For the first time, a Palm Beach County government agency is working with the school district to analyze the routes students use walking to and from school.

2:00 p.m. is the highlight of Gene Fortugno's day. It's when he picks up his daughter, Mia, from Banyan Creek Elementary School in Delray Beach.

"It's very nice because we get the chance to talk," Fortugno says walking beside his daughter.

He's never had any issues with the route he takes.

Anie Delgado wants to keep it that way. She works for The Palm Beach Metropolitan Planning Organization. It's an independent government agency which focuses on transportation issues.

A bill passed by the legislature this year allows agencies like the MPO to study routes students use when walking to school.

"It's kind of determining the best route for them and trying to think if I was a student, which route would I take," explains Delgado, who walked to elementary school as a student.

The first phase means looking at maps to identify potential hazards. Experts are looking at traffic, intersections which need crossing guards, and where sidewalks are missing.

Delgado is focusing on five schools right now. She'll develop a system to analyze all 107 Palm Beach County elementary schools next year.

"Getting them [to school] safely is a big concern of ours," Delgado says.

Eventually, experts will give municipalities suggestions on what needs to be improved. The MPO has about $3.1 million budgeted for a specific program which can be used to help fund fixes for these routes.

Fortugno likes the idea of having another agency help the school district look at ways to keep his daughter safe when she walks to school.

"Safety for the kids is paramount and I think we're all unified across the board with that," he explains.

Superintendent Robert Avossa is meeting with the MPO next week to discuss the project.

Parents probably noticed more students walking to school Wednesday. It was International Walk to School Day.

The event raises awareness about pedestrian safety and traffic.  

Copyright 2015 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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