Farmersville seeks student safety with school route upgrades

(Rigo Moran)

The city of Farmersville puts $250,000 towards improving the streets around a local elementary school so they are ADA accessible for all students as they walk to school

FARMERSVILLE – Parents can soon breathe a little easier when their children walk home from school now that the city has prioritized the streets surrounding school grounds as part of their ADA improvements plan.

The city of Farmersville is working on making Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements around Snowden Elementary School. Sidewalks, crosswalks and ramps will be added around the school for greater accessibility for the students by the end of November.

“We wanted to try and make it more accessible for kids walking to school, so they actually have sidewalks,” Farmersville City Manager Jennifer Gomez said. “Some of our corners really close to the school didn’t have ramps … that’s why I wanted to tackle that area first.”

The city is focusing on designating $250,000 to make ADA improvements around the elementary school. The improvements around the school were a top priority in the city’s ADA transition plan due to ADA accessibility and safety concerns for the kids walking to school.

Gomez explained that one of the crosswalks at the school is in the middle of the block on Shasta Avenue instead of on the corner of Shasta and Dode Avenue. Now, the city is moving the crosswalk to the corner of the block and adding a wheelchair accessible ramp.

(Rigo Moran)

“I don’t see it as a safe place because it’s what we consider midblock. It’s not a corner or anything,” Gomes said.

She continued to explain her concerns that cars turning the corner might not always be able to see everyone crossing the street. Even though no accidents have happened yet, and the school has hired a crossing guard to guide the students safely through traffic, the city and school agree it is a necessary change.

“I had talked to the principal about it, probably a year ago, to tell him we’re going to make some improvements and he was really happy about that,” Gomez said. “Being freshly painted and everything,  It will be more visible and safer for everyone.”

The other major ADA concern the city is improving is the missing portions of sidewalks on the streets surrounding the school. According to Gomez, before Farmersville was a city, it started as a small community under county regulations that didn’t require curb gutter sidewalks. Once Farmersville became a city in 1960, by law they had to start making improvements to make the street ADA accessible. 

So far Farmersville has required any home that is undergoing construction to add a curb gutter sidewalk as part of their project. This is why some of the streets in the town already have some portions of sidewalks. Since some students walk to school, the city is now completing the sidewalks on Shasta Avenue and Dode Avenue so the kids are not walking in the street or in the dirt.

The streets around Snowden Elementary are not the only school grounds the city has focused on improving. During the summer the city put a sidewalk on Freedom Drive next to Farmersville High School. Gomez said next year the city engineers are going to analyze the streets surrounding Farmersville Junior High School.

“I think for a long time, people didn’t really think about ADA accessibility,” Gomez said. “ They would think about other types of pedestrian safety, but not how to make it inclusive. So we’re definitely more mindful of that these days.”

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