Organizers gathered in San Ysidro for a "Safety Walk" to prove their point: students need a sidewalk in order to walk safely every day to and from school. NBC 7's Elena Gomez reports on this latest push for a project put off for years.
Frustrated by what they see as slow progress, organizers who are asking that the city build a sidewalk for school children in San Ysidro gathered for a “Safety Walk” Friday morning to bring attention to the issue.
NBC 7 Investigates and our media partner, Voice of San Diego, were first to report the story of a dangerous dirt path, sandwiched between a busy road and a steep canyon, which is being used by school children as they head to class.
The path is along a half mile stretch of the Old Otay Mesa Road and about three feet outside a Pardee homes development in San Ysidro called "Ocean View Hills.”
For some students, the path is the only direct access to San Ysidro High School.
Locals to the area have been concerned about the path for nearly a decade and it’s a situation that organizers of non-profit Casa Familiar say they have been trying to fix with the city’s help for months.
At about 8 a.m. Friday at Beyer Boulevard and Otay Mesa Road, the group gathered with supporters for what they called a “Safety Walk” in the hopes of pushing development of the sidewalk along.
The sidewalk, which was originally supposed to be in place by 2010, has been delayed for years. NBC 7 Investigates learned that the sidewalk was promised to be completed in 2011 and then again in 2013.
Last year, the city said they would break ground on the new sidewalk this spring and yet, so far, not much has been done to remedy the issue.
Meanwhile, city officials have said the project is forthcoming after claiming funding for a fix was shaky. They added that they credited NBC 7 Investigates in helping to bring the issue to light.
Earlier this month, Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Councilman David Alvarez reconfirmed their commitment to laying down the sidewalk.
“Kids should have sidewalks to walk to school on and as I’ve talked about many times, when it comes to infrastructure, that’s an area where there is absolute agreement on this council,” said Faulconer.
“What I’ve been doing is making a lot of noise, making sure this project gets done, trying to hold people accountable, trying to find the money to make it possible,” Alvarez said.
Funding for the project hit a snag with the delay of the Otay Mesa Community Plan Update and many months after promising our media partner, Voice of San Diego, that funding for the full $8.5 million price tag was secured, it appears more issues have pushed the project back further.
One of those issues involves a small portion of the project crosses paths with a trail and needs special site distances and no guardrail. City officials just learned of that issue this month.
The last timeline the city gave NBC7 Investigates were that bids would go out in late Fall or early Winter and shovels will be in the ground in early 2015. NBC7 Investigates will continue following up with the city on progress on the project.
Casa Familiar organizers said they may hold a monthly Safety Walk until the sidewalk is in place.