MDOT grant will make Pascagoula roads safer for kids

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - The walk or bike ride to school for students at Jackson Elementary in Pascagoula is about to become a lot safer. It's all part of a Safe Routes to School program that's also helping fight childhood obesity.

Natalia Maldonado is one of at least 100 students who all walk or ride their bikes on the busy roads to and from Jackson Elementary.

"Sometimes the cars go fast," Maldonado said.

Teacher Michelle McMillan said she also sees the traffic problems every day. She now walks with her students to make sure they are safe.

"Sometimes traffic does tend to fly by faster than it should be, and I don't want to see anything happen them."

McMillan said it would be great to see the road problems fixed.

"We need sidewalks and safety precautions all up and down Eden Street and Lanier for our students to get safely to and from school," McMillan said.

Wednesday, Southern District Transportation Commissioner Tom King presented a $120,000 check to city leaders to reduce the traffic dangers near the school.

"It is a Safe Routes to School Grant. It is federally funded, and the city will put up 20 percent and MDOT will put up 80 percent. My vision is sidewalks for school, flashers for the school, crosswalks signage, and sidewalk will certainly extend in front of the school," King said.

The more children walking and biking to school encourages exercise.

"I think anytime you have a program like this, it will help the children and their health and addressing any health issues. Walking and biking are very good and certainly positive," said King.

Students and teachers at Jackson Elementary said they're excited and anticipating a safer walk.

"I am excited about this because we can be safer," Maldonado said.

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