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Police crack down on drivers who refuse to stop for pedestrians

March 10, 2011|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

DOWNTOWN — Traffic through a mid-block crosswalk that extends across North Brand Boulevard in the bustling thoroughfare’s 500 block has so frightened local workers and residents that many say they have opted to avoid the crosswalk entirely.

Kim Wiser and her coworkers have used the crosswalk, which stretches over six traffic lanes, but said the designated pedestrian pathway has been a major safety risk because many motorists won’t stop.

“It’s to the point where we don’t even want to walk across the street,” she said.

After many close calls with motorists, and some harassment from drivers, Wiser called police for help.

That’s why Glendale police officers conducted an enforcement sting Thursday on North Brand, citing motorists for failing to stop for pedestrians, Lt. Gary Montecuollo said. Police also deployed an electronic sign programmed with the message, “Watch for peds.”

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“Our hope, really, is that by issuing citations and conducting enforcement, that it really has that educational component to remind people to be safe,” he said. “When someone gets a ticket, it’s a very poignant reminder that, ‘I need to slow down,’ or ‘I need to yield to pedestrians.’”

Police cited 13 motorists on suspicion of failing to yield for pedestrians who walked within the crosswalk, Sgt. Dennis Smith said.

Another two motorists were cited for using handheld cellphones while driving and for vehicle equipment violations, he added.

Police Officer Tom Broadway, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, made the trip through the crosswalk numerous times to see if motorists stopped.

One driver shouted at Broadway and made hand signals as he paced the crosswalk.

“We don’t want people to get hurt,” Montecuollo said. “We want people to be safe.”

Still, many bystanders stopped to watch, and thanked officers on the sidewalk for conducting the sting.

Attorney Meredith Jobe, whose law offices are at North Brand, said he tries to avoid the crosswalk, preferring instead to use a nearby lighted intersection to cross.

He was almost hit by a motorist when he was crossing, but he said his wife, Carol Jobe, pulled him out of the vehicle’s path.

“This is the worst crosswalk,” Carol Jobe said, adding that she often has to stare at motorists before crossing.

“You wait like a rabbit and you just stare — ‘Are you going to stop, are you going to stop?’” she said.
 
 

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