But in a city where pedestrian related traffic accidents and hit-and-runs have long dominated the streetscape, interest for the safety seminar far outstripped capacity, officials said.
“We exceeded the desired number,” said Thomas Mitchell, the city’s assistant traffic and transportation administrator.
City officials went through requests from community members who wanted to attend the program and selected residents, business owners and community leaders who represented a cross-section of the community, Mitchell said. Some city staffers will also attend the program.
Organizers tend to keep the meeting moderately sized, Alfsen said, because they want to be able to effectively train community members about pedestrian safety.
“Communities want to be able to walk more and they know it’s not safe right there,” she said. “Pedestrian safety is the biggest issue.”
Councilman Ara Najarian, who seized on the seminars repeatedly during his reelection campaign, lobbied to have Glendale included as one of 12 cities for the UC Berkeley’s Traffic Safety Center program.
Last year, there were 84 pedestrian-related accidents. In 2007, there were 126 similar collisions, according to the Police Department.
The community’s high interest in the training program, Najarian said, shows that residents are dedicated in improving safety in their neighborhoods.
He also received an influx of calls and e-mails from community members who were looking to sign up for the program.
The idea is to get people who attend the program to use their new knowledge to teach others in their respective communities, Najarian said.
“It is good for us that we have so many people involved,” he said.
Alfsen and other organizers will teach community members during the program some basic information about pedestrian safety, how to identify problem streets or intersections and who they need to speak to in the city about their concerns, she said.
She will also take them on a walk so they can observe pedestrian safety problems. Once they return from the walk, they will talk about the issues they saw and discuss how to fix them.
VERONICA ROCHA covers public safety and the courts. She may be reached at (818) 637-3232 or by e-mail at email@example.com.