Greater Augusta County area working to get students to school more safely

AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — The Scholastic Way project has been a path for students to get to and from school in Augusta County, and it has recently been extended.

Part of the Scholastic Way sidewalk heading toward Stuarts Draft schools. | Credit: WHSV

Phase IV of the Scholastic Way project brought a sidewalk from the intersection at Round Hill Dr. and Augusta Farms Rd. to the intersection of Brittany Ln. and Round Hill Dr. to help more kids get to school safely.

This addition of the 1,200 feet of sidewalk to Brittany Ln. was completed in time for students to use it for the new school year. Eighty percent of the project was funded by federal dollars and 20% was local.

The county says they plan on extending the path even further from Augusta Farms Rd. and Round Hill Dr. to the Shenandoah Estates property line.

Project Coordinator and Assistant to the County Administrator Candy Hensley said there is definitely a need for it.

"There was a number of students walking to the schools along Augusta Farms Rd. with no sidewalk, and in some places no shoulder, so we want to provide them a safe means to walk," Hensley said.

Hensley said they are also working on a similar project in Verona to provide a safer walking area for community members there as well.

The City of Waynesboro is also looking to get kids to school safely. They are working with city schools to create Safe Routes to School, a program encouraging students to walk or bike while teaching them the importance of safety.

The goal is to get students more active and use routes in the city that will get them to school safely. They are also hoping this will cut down on traffic around the schools.

Money for the program will go toward educating families on safety by hiring a coordinator as well.

"They will do everything from working with the police department for the crossing guards, working with parents on education and safety, and yes, working with the P.E. teachers in the school," Virginia Newman, Office on Youth Director, said.

And with more students walking or biking, Newman said they will be able to see where more signs or sidewalks may be needed for future projects.

They are in the process of hiring that coordinator now and hope to start the program soon. Newman said Walk to School Week starting September 30 will be the kick-off the program.