A path to education: New sidewalk constructed on McKinney Street


Maggie Smith

Briggs cuts the ribbon for the new sidewalk.

For over two decades, McKinney Street has been without a sidewalk, leaving students to either walk on the grass or alongside the road with the cars. On Aug. 27, the new sidewalk was officially presented to the public with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

According to Denton City Mayor Chris Watts, although there has been a desire to start the construction of the sidewalk for many years, “the real challenge was that this part of McKinney is a state highway, so TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) was responsible for widening the highway and putting in the corresponding sidewalk.”

The school principal, Mr. Vernon Reeves, said the major push finally came in 2015, when three students, “got nicked by cars.”

One particular incident occurred on Aug. 31, 2015, when student Faith Carlin was hit by a car along McKinney on her way to school. Though Carlin wasn’t severely injured, the accident made her “really worried about being in cars.”

“Being near the road was hard because I kept thinking about getting hit,” Faith said.

Noticing an increase in accidents on McKinney, her mother, Dawn Carlin, called the Denton City Council to seek change, and she was immediately connected with Councilwoman Keely Briggs.

When Briggs joined the city council in 2015, her original platform was centered on community safety- particularly for bikers and pedestrians. Upon hearing about the accidents, Briggs coordinated with Ryan administration to see what could be done.

Maggie Smith
Briggs and Watts sign the sidewalk with chalk.

In order to kick start the construction of a sidewalk along McKinney, the city decided to buy the land in front of Ryan from TxDOT. Three years later, the project has finally come to fruition, and students can now walk and bike to school safely.

There are still some kinks to work out, like the problem with water pooling on parts of the sidewalk farther away from the school, which was partially solved by building the path up like a bridge. However, the project doesn’t end there.

The Denton City Council has plans to build new sidewalks throughout the city. In fact, the Council is currently conducting a sidewalk study to see which Denton roads are in need of sidewalks, and where they can fill in the gaps.

“If you’ve driven around Denton, [it]’s an old town, so we have a lot of streets that need repair and … sidewalks that just end,” Councilwoman Briggs said. “It’s very important to me to make sure that the kids have a safe route to school. They have lots of other things they need to be worrying about; getting hit by a car … should not be one of them.”
Faith expressed gratitude for the sidewalk’s completion.

“I want to thank [her], and I wish there was a way I could show my appreciation,” she said. “Having people actually push for it and get it to happen … I couldn’t thank them enough for that.”

After some difficulty cutting the ribbon, Councilwoman Briggs, Mr. Reeves, and Mayor Watts all signed the new sidewalk with chalk. Even though the sidewalk took several years to construct, and there were a few bumps along the way, the end result is a safe way for students to travel to and from school and a step toward a safer community.


Writer’s Note: This story was corrected for accuracy. Councilwoman Briggs joined the city council in 2015, not 2014.