KAYSVILLE -- From the time the school bell rings until her 13-year-old son arrives home, Emily Smalley worries if he is going to get home safely.
"My kid comes home and I think, 'Oh good, he made it safe,'" Smalley said.
A few weeks ago, her son Andrew crashed his bike in the middle of the road on his way home from Centennial Junior High School. Andrew claimed that the sidewalk, where he had been told to ride, was too full of pedestrians to accommodate his bike.
Luckily, Andrew's helmet took the brunt of his fall, Smalley said.
The area surrounding Centennial Junior High has experienced significant growth in the past few years. To accommodate the influx of new families, three schools -- Centennial Junior High, Snow Horse Elementary, and Oquirrh Mountain Charter School -- have opened within a mile-and-a-half radius in five years.
Many of the main thoroughfares used to reach the schools are old rural roads without curbs, gutters or sidewalks. The increased traffic from the schools, in combination with the condition of the rural roads, have many parents and administrators frustrated and concerned about the safety of their children.
"They have not kept the infrastructure to make it a workable situation," Smalley said.
The city has made diligent efforts to accommodate as many students as possible. The D&RGW Rail Trail has been tied into neighborhoods and school crossings to provide safe passage for many students. The city also widened portions of Angel Street and Sunset Drive, and added many crosswalks and school signs.
Kathleen Bagley, principal at Snow Horse Elementary, recently attended a city council meeting to request flashing school zone lights near the roundabout intersection in front of her school. She also asked for more sidewalks in the area.
"Almost our entire boundary area would be walking, but almost everyone is bused because it is unsafe," Bagley said.
City Engineer Andy Thompson said state provisions require that reduced speed school zones be implemented in conjunction with crosswalks, not at regulated intersections. The roundabout is considered a regulated intersection and, therefore, does not qualify for the flashing lights.
"(It would take) millions of dollars' worth of improvements to satisfy all the needs that are out there," Thompson said. "It's a problem, and it's going to take a long time to solve."
Sara Thatcher, who has two children at Centennial and four at Snow Horse, has attended every city council meeting since school began, repeatedly asking for safety improvements.
Thatcher said she is pleased with the widening of Angel Street between Ramola and Leola streets, but wishes the city would install sidewalks along that stretch.
"The city council has been very gracious in trying to get it done," she said.
City officials cite conflicting desires of homeowners and the significant cost of the improvements as obstacles to installing sidewalks.
At the request of the city council, city employees considered creating an assessment district in the area to install curbs, gutters and sidewalks. An assessment district would require homeowners in the area to contribute to the cost of the improvements.
Preliminary results indicated that residents would not support the cost of such a project.
Needed improvements such as "curb, gutter, sidewalk, fill(ing) the ditch in, and fix(ing) the driveway can easily be $50 to $80 a foot," Thompson said. "Some homes have 100-foot frontages which (could) cost that homeowner $5,000 to $10,000. (We) can spread the cost out over two to three years, but nobody wants another $100 a month bill. It's tough."
Thompson said the city appreciates the involvement of the residents and, "We've tried to listen to what they say and address the real issue, which is getting kids to school."