Hundreds of metro students walk to school to push for safer streets

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RAYTOWN, Mo. -- As part of an effort to encourage adults to create safer streets, hundreds of students across the metro walked to school Wednesday.

More families desire walkable schools. The vast majority of children in urban areas used to walk to schools that were close to their homes.

But nowadays, parents' fear of stranger danger and traffic safety concerns have most kids on the bus or shuttled to school by mom or dad.

Kansas City ranks near the bottom for pedestrian safety, according to the Alliance for Biking and Walking. The city comes in 43rd out of the top 51 most populated cities.

Kansas City police said, last year, someone on foot was struck by a driver nearly every day. That's the highest number of traffic crashes involving pedestrians in the last four years.

It also shows why cities like Raytown are taking steps to make their communities safer so more people will walk.

"A lot of the cities are working hard at putting in sidewalks, making sure they are ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant, and making sure there are crosswalks," Raytown Mayor Mike McDonough said. "Making sure they are well painted and well marked. Also making sure that the pedestrian buttons are working."

New schools are likely to include bike racks and special crossing zones with lights to stop traffic. Kansas City also has embarked on a complete streets program, using so-called road diets and traffic calming techniques to make crossings safer.

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