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Mayor upset with state of traffic safety

Najarian looks to establish tougher enforcement to cite inattentive motorists.

December 11, 2010|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

A rash of pedestrian-involved collisions this week has again put a spotlight on one of the city's top public safety issues, which officials said will be dealt with through tougher enforcement and increased public education.

A baby in a stroller, a middle school student and two seniors were struck this week by motorists while they were walking in Glendale crosswalks.

"To be honest, I am devastated," Mayor Ara Najarian said. "I am so disappointed and so frustrated at the continued rash of pedestrian accidents we are experiencing."

While the city has recently launched a distracted drivers campaign aimed at reducing the number of inattentive motorists on the roads, pedestrian-involved collisions have continued to happen.

The collisions, Najarian said, call for immediate action from police and city officials to stem the tide before it gets worse.

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Najarian said he will meet with City Manager Jim Starbird and Glendale Police Chief Ron De Pompa next week to establish a tougher enforcement period in which all officers would devote time to citing motorists who are inattentive, texting or talking on a cell phone while driving.

The city, he said, will also have to step up its public education efforts, traffic engineering and enforcement to clamp down on pedestrian-involved collisions.

While much of the burden is placed on motorists to drive defensively, officials say pedestrians must also be aware of their surroundings.

Karen Webb said that she has grown frustrated by the continuing traffic safety issues at Wilson Middle School, and that she has even considered pulling her 12-year-old son from campus.

On Monday, a 12-year-old student sustained minor injuries when a car hit her as she was being dropped off in front of the school.

The accident is the second of its kind in less than two years at the school, which she said is all the more reason to step up safety and traffic measures.

"The problem really is with the parents," Webb said.

She said the school's administration has to do a better job of monitoring their students outside the school, and parents have to do a better job obeying road laws.

"It seems to me that when parents drop off or pick up their child, they feel that they have a right to pull up to the front of the school or wherever they see their child and pick them up where they see them," she said. "There are very few adults who are willing to park a block away and then walk to meet their child."

The school's principal, Richard Lucas, said his staff notified parents about being more mindful of road laws and to be careful when driving near the school.

Teachers were also given bulletins with pedestrian safety tips to hand out to their students, he said.

School officials would also be meeting with city officials in the coming weeks, he said, and discuss potential options — especially during times of constrained budgets.

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