school crossing sign

YAKIMA, WA - The City of Yakima is working on developing safety routes for students who walk to school.

"There are a lot of safety issues across the city," said Councilwoman Dulce Gutiérrez.

This is why during last night's city council meeting, Councilwoman Gutiérrez proposed to develop a map identifying safe routes for all 16 schools within city limits.

"We would be able to identify these walking routes," said Gutiérrez.

Gutiérrez acknowledges there are efforts to ensure student safety but she says this is different.

"So it's been done to a very small degree; we are typically able to address maybe one area of one school per year, and so what we are trying to do is very different and it's very proactive in that we want to get ahead of the problems. We want to be able to have a citywide plan," said Gutiérrez.

Gutiérrez says with the help of the Yakima and West Valley School Districts, the City will develop the map, and once that is done the City can then make investments on those routes. That means fixing sidewalks and adding signs.

Gutiérrez also says this is a priority for her because of incidents that have occurred.

"I know that there have been multiple instances in which a public safety measure, if it would have existed on a particular street, a child would not have been either struck by a vehicle or had to encounter some dangerous situation," she said.

When talking with Councilwoman Gutiérrez, she mentioned Garfield Elementary would be one of the schools to have a safe route established on the map.

"So that's just one example, but in reality it happens all around town," she said.

The City hopes to have this map done by the end of the year.

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