City and community leaders broke ground Wednesday on “Safe Routes to School” improvements, totaling $5 million, near two schools in Boyle Heights.

“Our children are our greatest resource and of all the improvements I’ve been involved with, none are more important than those that will better protect students walking to and from school,” City Councilman Jose Huizar said. “I thank LADOT, our parents, school staff and community members who helped us create the `Safe Routes to School Neighborhood Safety Improvement Project.”’

Huizar’s office said that from 2011-2015, there were 44 collision-related injuries, including two fatalities, along Soto Street between Wabash Avenue and Eighth Street near Breed Street Elementary and Sheridan Street Elementary. More than 60 percent of students in the area walk to school, both of which are on the city’s High Injury Network of streets found in studies to have the highest rate of accidents and collisions.

The improvements include:

— high visibility crosswalks on Chicago, Soto and Sheridan streets;

— pedestrian headstart crosswalks at intersections on E. Cesar Chavez Avenue at N. St. Louis Street and N. Breed Street;

— mini-roundabouts on St. Louis Street, Second Street and at Michigan Street;

— speed humps on St. Louis and Breed streets from Sixth Street to Sheridan Street;

— rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon crosswalk on E. Cesar Chavez Avenue and Cummings Street;

— curb extensions on Soto Street at Folsom, Third and Sheridan streets, on Breed Street at Third, Fourth and Folsom streets, at Sheridan and Cornwell streets, at Cesar Chavez Avenue and Brittania Street, and at Fourth and St. Louis streets;

— bike boxes and bike loop detectors on Cesar Chavez Avenue at N. St. Louis and N. Breed streets, and at Soto and Sheridan streets;

— new traffic signal on S. Soto and Third streets and N. Soto and Boulder streets;

— sidewalk repair at Chicago Street and Second Street, and Soto from Fourth to Second street; and

— curb ramp repair on Cornwell and Bird streets.

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