SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Walking to school in one south Sacramento neighborhood can be dangerous.
Some streets near Fern Bacon Middle School have sidewalks that end abruptly mid-block, forcing anyone on foot to walk into oncoming traffic.
"It's not really safe for us to walk so close to the street," said homeowner Heidi Her.
"It's a very busy street," said Matt Robinson with the Sacramento County Transportation Department.
So extending the sidewalks is a top priority for county transportation officials.
"What we are trying to avoid is having students walk on the street," Robinson said.
But to do that, they'll have to pave over people's private property. That means parts of homeowners' front lawns will have to go. In two cases, the county wants to use eminent domain—a legal process—to seize a portion of parcels after paying fair market value.
"When the county goes into projects like this, we want to negotiate with the homeowners and property owners to make sure that we can get enough land that we need and compensate them properly for the inconvenience of losing land," Robinson said. "And unfortunately, in this situation, the owner is deceased and there isn't any known owner."
Many in the neighborhood support the plan.
"I think it's great, it's good for the kids to be safe," Antonio Quiroz said.
Advocates say less than 20% of kids walk to school and that contributes to growing childhood obesity rates. Sacramento's goal is to have these new sidewalks ready by the fall of 2022.
"I'm happy for them because they're walking safe to school and that's good," Quiroz said.
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