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Trying times for pedestrian safety

January 08, 2011

This week saw another assault on Glendale's perpetually abysmal pedestrian safety record: new high-tech roadway warning signs, and tri-language paint markers at busy intersections reminding pedestrians to watch out for oncoming traffic.

This is what city officials have been forced into: painting basic safety messages on the road to remind adults what children are taught early on — to look both ways before crossing. The entire message is so elementary that it continues to boggle the mind as to how tragic pedestrian-involved collisions occur seemingly every week.

The need to throw any public safety campaign at the wall to see what sticks was brought home yet again with recent state figures that ranked Glendale, surprise, at the bottom of similarly sized cities for pedestrian safety among seniors, and near the bottom overall.

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These rankings, of course, have dogged Glendale for years, despite campaigns that sparked controversy — giant bunny costume sting, anyone? — and those that turned heads, such as smashed-up car displays.

The constant problem appears to be pushing city officials to adopt a strategy that's looking more and more like a nanny state — and who can blame them? We keep calling on government officials to do more, anything, to reverse the numbers, and yet every program they roll out seems to go thud.

It's beginning to seem like the only effective way out of this quagmire is moving from nanny state to police state. Issuing citations and fines for even the most minor infractions and hit drivers and pedestrians where it hurts most — their pocketbooks. As they say, money talks.

And if the public pushes back, it's not like city officials won't have a treasure trove of over-the-top public safety campaign tactics to point to as having been largely, and destructively, ignored.

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