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Grant for traffic safety

Local police receive funds to curb speeding, distracted driving and other hazards to people on foot.

July 09, 2010|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

GLENDALE — State officials Thursday awarded Glendale police $254,800 in an effort to boost pedestrian safety measures and reduce the number of distracted drivers.

Chris Cochran, a spokesman for the California Office of Traffic Safety, said the hope is to decrease pedestrian-involved collisions in Glendale, which ranks near the bottom in that category among similarly sized cities.

"It all points toward pedestrian safety," Cochran said, whose office provided the grant.

The additional money will allow for ramped-up enforcement efforts against distracted drivers who text or fail to use a hands-free device, he said. More patrols will also be used to crack down on speeders and motorists who run red lights.

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"It's getting to be a bigger and bigger problem," he said.

Signage and handouts will also be used to advise pedestrians and motorists of safe road habits, Cochran said.

Lt. Carl Povilaitis said the money will go a long way toward increasing pedestrian safety.

"Certainly, the initial grant funding would be very helpful in augmenting our enforcement and education efforts in what are some fiscally tight years," he said.

Police will continue to analyze collision data and driving habits to determine which groups, such as seniors or non-English speakers, need to be educated most, he said.

"One of the things we found with traffic enforcement, and even the education, is that there has to be some sort of level of consistency in order for it to be effective," Povilaitis said. "One of the nicest things about the grant funds with the speed enforcement and pedestrian education is it's allowing us to do it on a consistent basis… which we would expect would have some positive results for the community."

Glendale's grant was one of 198 related grants given to law enforcement agencies and communities statewide.

The agency awarded more than $67 million in grants for the 2010-11 fiscal year.

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