The old saying goes, “Safety first”. That is the mission behind improvements the city of Wilmington has made around several local schools. Upgrades to sidewalks, bike paths, and cross walks are helping ensure the safety of students who walk or bike to school. "The city is very focused and very intent on encouraging children to walk for health reasons and traffic congestion reduction purposes. It was very important to focus on this neighborhood where you already have a significant number of children walking and biking to school,” said Joshuah Mello, Associate Transportation Planner. The city of Wilmington spent $44,000 to complete projects around three schools, before the school year began. Before a sidewalk was installed on Princess Place Drive, students at Freeman Elementary would have to walk dangerously close to oncoming traffic. A new walkway behind Bradley Creek Elementary School steers neighborhood children down a safe path, instead of along busy Greenville Loop Road. Dozens of Holly Tree Elementary students and parents can now bike safely down Kirby Smith Drive. Julie Bradham, a Holly Tree parent said, "A lot of parents in the neighborhood, I was guilty my self, we would come back here with our car. We switched to bicycle just because it was a safety concern with a lot of quick turn-arounds and stuff and it wasn't really fair to the people that live here, it's just a good thing to do." "We love the improvements, they make the neighborhood better. That's why we moved to this neighborhood so we can ride our kids to school here on bikes so we love it, it's great,” said Christina Shaw, also from Holly Tree. In addition to these improvements, the state awarded the city more than $200,000 to build new sidewalks along Greenville Loop Road for pedestrian crossings and a new bike rack.
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