Last week's ribbon-cutting ceremony for the South Pointe Trail was an appropriate celebration for a much-needed pathway to protect student safety. But the occasion also should have served as a reprimand to Rock Hill school district and York County officials for failing to anticipate the need for the trail.
Students who live within 1.5 miles of their school are not permitted, by state law, to ride buses to and from school. But when the school opened in 2005, students living along Crawford Road and in the nearby College Downs neighborhood had no safe route for walking to school.
The county eventually agreed to build a path, but with delays in getting necessary permits from the state, the path still had not been completed when the new school year started last August. It wasn't opened until nearly two months later.
However, nearby residents no doubt are relieved that the 4,900-foot, paved trail now is ready for foot traffic. It is well lighted, so it can be used at night, and it is becoming a popular place for walkers and joggers to exercise.
We join in celebrating the opening of the trail. But we hope city, county and school district officials will work together before construction begins on any new schools in the county to determine whether sidewalks are needed to give students a safe way to walk to school.
That need should be met before a new school first opens its doors.
Local officials need to work to ensure that students have a safe walking path before schools are built.