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County to hear safety-flag plan

Councilwoman hopes county officials will support system used at crosswalks.

April 30, 2009|By Veronica Rocha

LA CRESCENTA — Town Councilwoman Robbyn Battles is seeking county support for a plan to place safety flags at crosswalks.

Battles introduced the plan to fellow Crescenta Valley Town Council members during a March 5 meeting, where they supported the idea and asked her to get feedback from community activists and residents about the flags.

“I really want to do it right,” she said.

So far, Battles said, her efforts have been positive. She got tips from Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies on where to put the flags.

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But what remains missing before she and the council move forward with the plan is approval from county officials, who, she said, she plans to talk to this week.

“To me, that’s going to make it a reality,” Battles said.

County Board Supervisor Michael Antonovich and the county’s Public Works Department have set up a meeting with the town council May 11 to discuss the feasibility of making the buckets available for pedestrian at crosswalks, Antonovich spokesman Tony Bell said.

The council and county officials must talk about the issues before any moves are made because, he said, the county controls traffic intersections.

“We believe whatever we can do to enhance public safety we should look at,” Bell said.

Battles wants the flags to be available at crosswalks by November, she said.

A bucket with flags at a crosswalk would cost $250.

“In this economy, I am not sure if $250 is a lot to ask,” Battles said, adding that she was open to feedback on other ways to pay for the buckets.

She got the idea of using safety flags on a trip to Kirkland, Wash. Battles saw town residents pick up orange flags from a bucket and return them to another bucket waiting on the other end of the crosswalk.

When she returned from her trip, she began researching how the safety flag program was implemented.

More than 15 states used a similar flag program, which, she said, was paid for with sponsorships.

Residents and business owners sponsored the bucket and maintained and replaced the flags if they were stolen or broken, Battles said. Some cities sponsored half the costs of the flags and buckets, and residents and businesses sponsored the remaining costs.

Battles said the flags may be the solution the town needs to address pedestrian safety and stop accidents like the Feb. 11 crash in which a 10-year-old boy was struck in town.

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