JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – As Adria Lucerna left her son’s elementary school, she had no other choice, but to stop in the middle of the road. Another woman and her kids were biking in one lane and a school bus was approaching in the other.

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“There’s nowhere for me to go, there’s nowhere for her to be. I don’t know what else to do, I have to stop,” said Lucerna.

The engineer started thinking about how she could improve things around Fairmount Elementary near North Table Mountain in Jefferson County.

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“The roads really are just pavement with fences pretty close. There’s no sidewalk. There’s no shoulder. There’s hardly a white line on some of this stuff,” Lucerna said.  “You’ve got to find a way to get these kids safe route to walk and bike to school.”

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She started working with Jefferson County Public Schools, Colorado Department of Transportation and Jeffco Public Schools to find grants. In 2017, a small grant connecting the school to MacIntryre Street along W. 50th Avenue was funded.

However, Lucerna is more concerned about the areas west of the school, especially the route to the school’s evacuation area a mile away.

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“They close the road for evacuation drills because it’s not safe,” Lucerna said.

“There were a lot of people from the school holding stop signs for cars and we had to walk in a very thin line,” recalled Ashleigh Martin, now a 6th grader.

Lucerna turned to the students in Ms. Tilton’s class to work on the engineering of a mile-long path along W. 50th Avenue.

“We measured the ditch that’s right outside the school because we were going to have our sidewalk go over part of that,” Martin said.

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Six teams gathered ideas and calculated total costs. They even presented their ideas to a packed public meeting. Now, officials are looking for more grant options to fund the roughly $1,000,000 path.

“It doesn’t feel like learning. It’s just like going outside and writing down notes and then actually doing stuff with that,” said Martin.

“It brings everything they’re doing in school out into the world to understand you really can make a difference,” Lucerna said. “We’re all about finding solutions and those kids can do that.”

Jeff Todd

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