Avenal residents encouraged to participate in audit for safer roads and sidewalks

Kassandra Gutierrez Image
Wednesday, April 10, 2024
Avenal residents urged to participate in road safety audit
Avenal residents are getting a unique opportunity to share their thoughts on improving sidewalks and streets.

KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Avenal residents are getting a unique opportunity to share their thoughts on improving sidewalks and streets.

About 25 locals walked several blocks along Fifth Avenue from Skyline Boulevard to Neighborhood Park on Wednesday morning.

With surveys and pens in hand, they put their suggestions in writing.

"I feel like this is something good that brings a community together or not only the district in the city but also our parents and our students," expresses Lupe Chavez, who is a local grandparent and serves as the school board president for Reef-Sunset Unified.

One of his main concerns is safety and comfort for kids walking to school.

"One thing we noticed today is not enough shade areas so when kids are walking in the summertime they get from here to school as fast as he can because there's nowhere they can stop and rest on a hot date when it gets over 100 sometimes," says Lupe.

Another recommendation on the list is an improved crosswalk on Skyline Boulevard.

It's the main road and also leads to Avenal High School and Reef Sunset Middle School.

City Manager Antony Lopez grew up in Avenal and walked to school and to church- as a kid. He'd like to see several improvements.

"We want to see more crosswalks, lighted crosswalks, street signs, posted speed limits, since we do have people sometimes speeding by, so all those little changes can make a big difference," Antony explains.

Residents say they've seen more traffic in Avenal lately because of the detour on Highway 41.

That surge is expected to last at least through August - but any major changes to city streets would likely be further down the road.

Local leaders plan to use the walk audit to apply for grants in the future... specifically through the state's Active Transportation Program.

ATP cycle seven has over 500 million dollars up for grabs.

"If we're able to get about 3.5 million it would go hand-in-hand with making our safe routes to school plans achievement. Some of those goals are to help our students and families walk more healthier lifestyles and hopefully in the future will hopefully lead to that plan," says Antony.

If you missed today's walk the city will continue conducting surveys at upcoming events.

They will go to schools and give the community the opportunity to share their thoughts at the 41st Old Timers' Day event which will be at Floyd Rice Park. 711 E. Monterey St. on May 4.

For more details, you can contact the City of Avenal here.

For news updates, follow Kassandra Gutierrez on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.