Every day, hundreds of kids walk and bike to Tampa’s Mort Elementary School, many of them don’t have any other option since there are no buses.
“Well, 97 percent of students at Mort are in the free or reduced-lunch program, so their parents are having a difficult time even feeding them, and so they don’t have they extra money to buy the car, and drop off and sit in the car line,” said Lisa Silva AICP, PLA – Principal Planner.
8 On Your Side went out to see what the kids who walk and bike to the school on East Bearss Avenue each day encounter on their way to school.
We found uneven pavement, roads with little to no shoulder and roads riddled with potholes.
“We want to get the kids to and from school safely,” said Silva.
Transportation leaders have a plan in place to improve safety for students at Mort Elementary School.
“They are getting sidewalks, additional signage. Also additional enforcement and some parking mitigation,” said Silva.
In fact, there will be more than 7,000 feet of sidewalk and about a dozen crosswalks added.
However, 8 on Your Side learned this project will take years and might not happen until 2020, so we asked, “With children’s safety at risk, why wait?”
“The funds take a while to get from the federal or state sources that they come from and they have to go through many steps to make sure they are distributed in a fair and appropriate manor,” said Silva.
“Is that red tape?” asked News Channel 8’s Amanda Ciavarri.
“It is a bureaucratic processes, yes,” Silva answered.