With a confetti pop and the snip of giant scissors, the first phase of a six-million-dollar upgrade was cause for celebration on the Gevers Street corridor Friday morning.
New sidewalks and school zone warning beacons are now helping keep school kids safer in the heart of the EastPoint Promise Zone.
Jesus Ortega, who walks his kids to Booker T. Washington Elementary every morning, said he is thrilled. “I heard they were fighting for this, right?" said Ortega. "I guess we won because it's a lot of improvements, from that corner to this corner, it's very safe for our kids.”
Kelsy Estrada, another parent residing in the area, said this project is part of a hopeful trend. “It makes me feel good because it's something that needs to happen," Estrada said. "I like the improvements that are happening on this side of town. The houses are improving and I just see things getting better."
Mary Emerson, who has lived in the Harvard Place/Eastlawn area for more than 60 years said, “We want to see our children well taken care of and introduce them to better things in life and things are getting better every day.”
Salena Santibanez, who helped lead the push for improvements, spent the morning giving credit to everyone in the community who worked together to make their dreams come true.
Attendance and performance at the school have improved since the fight for improvements began, Santibanez said. "We're extremely excited to be promoting the Walking School Bus. It's a program that encourages children to get to school on time," Santibanez said.
Now that the sidewalks near the school are done, next week, when the students are on Spring Break, a paving crew will give the street a whole new look too.
City officials said increasing safety for pedestrians is part of the Vision Zero campaign, which is striving towards zero traffic-related fatalities. Last year there were 192 fatal accidents on local roadways.