School police monitored the crosswalk on Edmonds Drive on Tuesday, advising students to stay on the walking trail and warning motorists to slow down.
"Don't come this way anymore," school peace officer Orlando Sanchez told a group of students walking alongside the road. "We're doing this for your safety."
About 250 students who used to ride the bus to and from Eagle Valley Middle School are now walking, after four bus routes were discontinued in that area.
They are still becoming acquainted with the trail, which leads behind Rattlesnake Hill, and motorists are adjusting to stopping at the crosswalk.
"I think the traffic will get used to groups of people crossing at certain times of the day and it will be easier," said crossing guard Pam Brotherton. "They just need to get used to it."
District officials proposed cutting the routes two years ago as a means to enforce the policy that secondary students living within two miles of their respective schools do not receive bus service. Elementary students need to live more than one mile from school in order to ride the bus.
However, parents expressed concerns and it was determined that there was no safe route to Eagle Valley Middle School from the area near Empire Elementary School and the bus service remained.
With the new walking trail and crosswalk, officials have determined the route to be safe.
Graciela Victor, the mother of 12-year-old Virginia, is not convinced. That's why she waits at the crosswalk for her daughter.
"It scares me that she has to walk this far," Graciela said. "There's danger in crossing the street and walking where there's not very many people."
Students have other complaints.
"I have a hurt knee, and I have to walk anyway," said Megan Agorastos, 12. "And it's too cold."
Others are taking it in stride.
"It's a tie between walking or riding the bus," said Emanuel Gallegos, 15. "When you walk, you get to hang out with your friends and talk."
Principal Ferd Mariani said students have been on time for classes but pedestrian traffic needs to be rerouted through the parking lot as students are leaving school.
He also has advice for motorists:
"Just be incredibly careful coming over that hill on Fifth Street and down Edmonds," he said. "There are a lot of kids walking in that area."
Contact Teri Vance at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 881-1272.