Farmington Municipal Schools Board of Education approved four hazardous walking approvals to be filed with the state during the meeting Thursday night. Two
Farmington Municipal Schools Board of Education approved four hazardous walking approvals to be filed with the state during the meeting Thursday night. Two are related to the new Tibbetts Middle School, allowing students that live close to the school to be bused for safety reasons. (Augusta Liddic/The Daily Times)

FARMINGTON — Farmington's school board is trying to ensure that students who live near busy intersections make it safely to school.

Farmington Municipal Schools Board of Education on Thursday approved four hazardous walking approval forms to be sent to the New Mexico Public Education Department for four schools, Bluffview and Esperanza Elementary schools and Mesa View and Tibbetts Middle schools.

The approvals ask that students who live in hazardous walking conditions near those four schools be transported on school buses, rather than having to walk to school.

"We can apply to the state to bus those kids instead of having them walk on the side of the road," said Billy Huish, the district's transportation supervisor.

According to the state Public Education Department, no bus route is maintained for students in kindergarten through sixth grade who live 1 mile away from their school; those in seventh- through ninth-grades who live 1 and 1/2 miles away; and those in 10th- through 12th-graders who live 2 miles away.

The proposals for Esperanza, Mesa View and Bluffview are renewals that were last passed in 2008, Huish said.

Tibbetts, which has a new campus on Twin Peaks Boulevard, is a new addition to the list. The school's new campus has a 45 mph speed limit, no pedestrian facilities and a narrow shoulder that is not wide enough to provide a safe walking area.

"We're not talking many kids but there are a few in these little pockets," Huish said. "(For) Tibbetts, it's a little higher."

A vehicle travels on Twin Peaks Boulevard past the entrance of Tibbetts Middle School on Thursday, July 11, 2013, in Farmington.
A vehicle travels on Twin Peaks Boulevard past the entrance of Tibbetts Middle School on Thursday, July 11, 2013, in Farmington. (Augusta Liddic/The Daily Times)

Students who live in the Mesa Mobile Home Park west of Tibbetts Middle School on Twin Peaks Boulevard and those in homes near La Plata Highway are located within 1 1/2 miles of the school.

Huish said it is up to the city of Farmington to decide whether or not to install sidewalks along Twin Peaks Boulevard.

Jeff Smaka, the city's public works director, said there are no plans to install sidewalks on the street. He said the city is in the process of installing "flashers" along the street.

The "flashers" are School zone signs with speed reader boards will also be installed near Tibbetts Middle School before the start of the school year.

The terrain and high volume of vehicle traffic around Wildflower Parkway is a safety concern for Mesa View and Esperanza students walking to Browning Parkway, Huish said.

For Bluffview, the school's location along U.S. Highway 64 provides no sidewalk for students trying to walk east towards Hines and Dowell roads. Businesses with vehicles entering and exiting the highway are another safety concern.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or jkellogg@daily-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @jkelloggdt.