Dec. 16, 2019- “Everyday we have hundreds of kids on the sidewalk, every morning walking to the school and biking,” said Principal Kim Gallagher, Atlantic Beach Elementary School.
The Atlantic Beach Elementary school community, is celebrating the completion of a sidewalk expansion project that will put parent’s minds at ease as their children travel to school.
Construction has been in the works since 2018 and now the new multi-use path and sidewalk on Sherry Drive is wider, smoother, and safer.
“In previous years, the sidewalk was small and bumpy and we did have children that would sometimes fall over,” said Principal Gallagher.
Principal Kim Gallagher said there wasn’t much room in either direction to keep students away from traffic.
For years, school leaders, parents, community leaders, and city officials have pushed to make the route to the elementary school safer.
The city of Atlantic Beach, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, and the Florida Department of Transportation have made that happen for students and the community. Principal Gallagher said now everyone can walk and bike with plenty of room.
“The wide sidewalks are a blessing because you can pass people not so close to the road and it really helps to keep them safe,” said Laura Chiumento, parent and 2nd Grader Teacher.
The new sidewalk and multi-use path stretches 1.4 miles and is 8 feet wide. It cost a little more than $760,000, as a part of the JTA’s Mobility Works program.
“We’ve watched it, we’ve seen the dirt, we’ve seen the people out here working and we really appreciate all of their hard work to help make our school safe and lots of fun,” said Chiumento.
JTA said, plans to address the sidewalks near Brentwood Elementary, S.P. Livingston Elementary, and the Leadership Academies of Eugene Butler are also in the works.
“It’s great watching the children on their bikes every morning with their parents and dogs, siblings and strollers, all have enough room now to walk to school,” said Principal Gallagher.