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Schools to receive lighted crosswalks

November 29, 2001

Gretchen Hoffman

GLENDALE -- As police crack down on drivers who fail to stop for

pedestrians in crosswalks, Glendale has received funding aimed at making

students' walk to schools a little bit safer.

Gov. Gray Davis directed $24 million in federal funds to a variety of

safety projects across the state, including traffic signals, bike lanes

and sidewalks.

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Glendale's share of the funds, allocated Wednesday as part of the Safe

Routes to School Program, is $365,400 and will go toward the installation

of lighted crosswalks.

The crosswalks affected will be equipped with "flashing disco lights"

that notify drivers that a pedestrian is entering the crosswalk, said

Hank Paz, chairman of a traffic safety committee for the Glendale Unified

School District.

Students have been hit by cars at some of the sites slated for the

flashing crosswalk lights, he said.

But flashing lights aren't always enough to prevent accidents -- a

12-year-old boy was struck by a car while in a lighted crosswalk on

Glendale Avenue Nov. 16, Paz added.

"These are not guarantees that things are going to be better, but

we're going to do everything we can to alert the pedestrians," Paz said.

The grants are awarded based on criteria that include the potential to

reduce child injuries and fatalities and encourage increased walking or

bicycling to school, said John Robin Witt, a spokesman for the California

Department of Transportation.

The total cost of the improvements is $396,000. No installation date

has been set, Paz said.

Crosswalks with flashing lights will be installed near 10 Glendale

Unified School District schools: Dunsmore, Glenoaks, Columbus, Cerritos,

Muir, Fremont and Lincoln elementary schools, Toll and Wilson Middle

schools and Clark High School.

Other traffic control improvements will be added near Marshall

Elementary and Wilson Middle School. A traffic sign will also be posted

at Verdugo Road and Harvard Street -- a highly traveled route to Glendale

High.

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