NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A group of Bronx high school students are moonlighting as urban planners, partnering with the Department of Transportation to make the streets around their school safer.

At University Heights High School in the Bronx, a group of high school students are young safety sleuths.

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“I just know the streets around here aren’t too particularly safe, especially for young kids,” sophomore Andrew Madera said.

The sophomores saw a problem and decided to do something about it.

“People always say that the South Bronx is such a dangerous area, to, like, not go here. I really wanted to prove that, like, hey, we know that’s a dangerous area, but we’re trying to make a difference.,” sophomore Elvin Martinez said.

Through the school’s “I Challenge Myself” after-school program, the students partnered with the DOT, creating changes to improve street safety around their school, where between 2014-2018, there were 201 car crash-related injuries.

“It was definitely an interesting and amazing experience,” student Izedeen Musa said.

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“What was your favorite part about the whole thing?” CBS2’s Jessica Moore asked.

“To be honest, my favorite part was definitely being able to use their meter sticks to measure the streets. Because it would then be used to determine how much space there is available to add different things,” Izedeen said.

Changes will include building pedestrian islands and adding bike lanes, stop signs and angled parking across a 10-block radius between East 156th Street and East 166th.

“What was it like working with high school kids?” Moore asked DOT employee Jeff McDuffie.

“It was a really great experience,” he said. “We had a design chart, we had a board of the street, and they were able to place bike lanes or curb extensions or anything else in our tool kit to make the streets safer.”

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The DOT says work on implementing the new safety plan is expected to begin this summer.

Jessica Moore