Neighbors worry about sidewalk shortage for kids near new school

Neighbors are worried that a new, larger school opening up in Northeast Portland will put more kids at risk as they walk to school.

The new Parkrose Middle School at 11800 NE Shaver opens next month.

Neighbors said children walk to school on NE Shaver, but there is only a sidewalk directly in front of school property, not on the rest of the street. They said kids have to walk on the edge of the road or sometimes in the street.

"I've held my breath so many times, that something might happen to them," said neighbor Rita Daggett, "Especially the younger kids that aren't paying attention and high school kids, they've got the radio going."

Mya Dillow, age seven, said she tries to stay as far off the road as possible when she walks to her elementary school nearby, but it can be difficult.

"Sometimes cars zoom by really fast and it's not really safe," said Dillow.

Emma Campbell, age ten, agreed. She walked to swim class along NE Shaver.

"It's a little nerve-wracking when cars come by, a little close," said Campbell. "I would really prefer sidewalks. It's just a lot safer."

"I think sidewalks would be pretty good," said Dillow, "So you don't have to get in the street any more."

Daggett said neighbors want the city to put in sidewalks, and do not understand why that has not happened.

Diane Dulken with the Portland Bureau of Transportation said they would like to put in sidewalks along NE Shaver near the new school.

"We think it's a great idea," said Dulken.

Dulken said they are building as many sidewalks as they can, as quickly as they can, with the money they have available.

She said they worked in concert with the community, seeking input to create a priority list of areas that need sidewalks. She said NE Shaver by the new school is not currently on that list.

The PBOT website said it worked on a project called East Portland in Motion. "Over the year from November, 2010 to November, 2011, we gathered information from the East Portland community and analyzed project data to develop recommendations about which projects to build first to improve conditions for walking, biking, and taking transit," the web site said.

Dulken said they want to hear where you want sidewalks in Portland, to help them continue to work on the priority list. She said you can call 503-823-5185 to let them know what you want.

"It's safer. It's better to walk on sidewalks than in the middle of the road," said Campbell.