NEW ORLEANS – Children will return to class next month after the summer holiday and the New Orleans Health Department is working to make it safer for them to get to school.

The “Safe Routes to School,” totaling about $650,000 from the Louisiana Department of Transportation will target 14 schools. The goal of the grant: getting children to school by teaching them about street safety and providing stipends for hiring crossing guards and crosswalk signals.

In the New Orleans area, the project will primarily focus on South Claiborne Avenue, which city leaders say is a busy road, especially during rush hour traffic. The health department will look at four schools near Claiborne between Napoleon Avenue and Earhart Boulevard.

In January 2015, “The Lens” investigated school zones in New Orleans and learned that nearly half of the school zone flashing lights in the city do not work properly. In spring 2017, that number increased to just over 80 percent.

The project comes at the same time as the city installing traffic cameras which ticket drivers who run and speed through red lights.

The stipends will go to 10 schools to hire crossing guards to address safety on Claiborne. Workers will start safety studies at four schools near Claiborne Avenue. After the data has been collected, the program will work with school leaders to create safety plans.