City workers painting crosswalks to make it safer for kids to get to school

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Marta Jewson / The Lens

A new crosswalk in front of Warren Easton Charter High School.

Freshly painted white stripes now cross Canal Street in front of Warren Easton Charter High School, where it’s not uncommon for cars to barrel down the six-lane thoroughfare.

The new crosswalks are part of a citywide effort to make students’ journeys to school safer.

Over the last two months, the New Orleans Department of Public Works has painted 135 crosswalks at 28 intersections, including two near Easton. The $109,000 project covered intersections near at least 16 schools.

The city health department’s Crescent City Crossing program recommended the crosswalk locations. It has provided stipends for crossing guards at 10 schools and trained gym teachers so they can teach students how to safely cross streets.

The health department and several local schools received grants from Safe Routes to School, a national program that helps schools identify ways to keep students safe in transit.

The city collected information through “walking audits” this fall. That’s when an adult follows a student’s typical route to school to assess sidewalk conditions, signage and other things that could affect their safety.

The Department of Public Works draws from those audits to determine how to improve student safety.

City workers also put down new paint at two intersections on Freret Street in front of Lusher Charter School.

Near at least 14 more schools, the city plans to install high-visibility crosswalks, restrict parking near intersections, or both. That will cost about $135,000 and will cover 43 intersections.

The city expects that part of the work to be completed by early spring.

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