It was pouring rain on Monday, January 26th as Escondido residents braved the weather to gather at the intersection of Mission Avenue and Ash Street in preparation for the ceremonial first crossing of the newly painted crosswalks.
Students from Mission Middle School and Pioneer Elementary School eagerly stood with Mayor Sam Abed, City Councilman Ed Gallo, Escondido Chief of Police Craig Cater, City Engineers Homi Namdari and Ali Shahzad, Escondido Union School District Board member Paulette Donnelon and Assistant Superintendent Kelly Prins, along with County Supervisor Dave Roberts and Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) North County Regions Director Chuck Matthews, as they prepared to officially inaugurate the crosswalks they use daily on their route to and from school.
With news cameras from CBS 8 and County News Center rolling, the red ribbon was cut and students, parents, community members, and dignitaries cheered as they crossed the street from the northwest and southeast sides and walked toward Grove Park for a press conference and activity fair.
Huddling under umbrellas and canopies, families listened as the Communities of Excellence in Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Prevent (CX3) youth explained how the CX3 project, a partnership between HHSA and Escondido Education COMPACT, worked tirelessly with Escondido Union School District’s Safe Routes to School program, the Escondido Bike Walk Committee, the City Traffic Engineers and local parents to assess the walking routes to school in the Mission Park neighborhood for safety. After nearly 3 years of collaboration and commitment, a newly painted crosswalk at Mission Avenue and Ash Street came to fruition.
The project was a huge success for CX3 youth and all of their partners. One of CX3’s goals is for people to have safe routes to healthy places, and the crosswalk unveiling event reinforced this message; the new crosswalks will provide safe crossing routes for families and students as they walk throughout the community. The activity fair that followed complemented the safety messaging and also provided families with safe ways to incorporate different forms of exercise into their daily lives.
Monday’s celebration recognized the youth’s efforts to improve their neighborhood and to be champions for positive change. It was a great way to bring the community together—despite the rain.