PORTLAND -- Eleven blocks of Northeast Prescott Street are a lot safer, thanks to construction of new sidewalks to replace gravel and grass shoulders.
The improvements stretch from Northeast 105th Avenue to Northeast 116th Avenue and link Prescott Elementary School and Parkrose High School.
"It's much nicer," said mother Erin Krupicka as she dropped off her 6-year-old daughter at Prescott Elementary Friday. "It's a lot easier to get around than to have to worry about the kids running out in the street, or having people drive too close to you. It's a big improvement."
From North to Southeast Portland, many neighborhoods east of 82nd avenue don't have any sidewalks because those streets were originally outside city limits, and sidewalks were not required by law. But now, they're saving lives.
A Portland Bureau of Transportation report shows 41 percent of the city's pedestrian deaths in the last 10 years have been in Southeast Portland. The city says it's now prioritizing the most dangerous stretches for construction.
Commissioner Steve Novick helped Prescott Elementary students cross the street Friday morning, to mark the new sidewalk construction.
"There are still lots of places along busy streets that we don't have sidewalks and we need to fix that," Novick said. "And to be honest, we'll probably be coming to the people of Portland to ask them for money to make some of those investments."
Last February, 5-year-old Morgan Maynard-Cook was hit and killed by a car crossing Southeast 136th Avenue. It's been labeled a high-risk area because of the lack of sidewalks and crossings.
That's why the city is starting construction on new sidewalks just north of where she was hit, on 136th Avenue between Powell Bouelvard and Holgate Boulevard, next winter.