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Kenneth Village merchants say parking is big reason to axe crosswalk idea

Kenneth Village merchants voiced their objections last week to the idea of a crosswalk being added to the street where their cluster of businesses is located.

Around 50 people attended the Aug. 2 meeting at Balboa Elementary School centering on the proposal of a crosswalk in the middle of West Kenneth Road. A city-sponsored survey showed that 19 of the 22 respondents opposed the idea.

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“This was strictly a community discussion on a proposed sidewalk. There was no decision to put a crosswalk in,” said city spokesman Tom Lorenz.

The three respondents who did support the crosswalk said it would encourage pedestrian safety and minimize jaywalking, Lorenz said.

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Lorenz said those who opposed the crosswalk offered alternative ideas, such as putting in speed bumps, educating pedestrians on the rules of the road, and increased patrol and traffic enforcement by Glendale Police officers.

“The city was seeking input from the community. Public works and [Glendale] police will work with the residents and the merchants based on their requests,” Lorenz said.

The proposed crosswalk would have eliminated six parking spots for 16 businesses on West Kenneth that have no parking lot.

“For us, losing six spaces right in front of my salon would’ve closed me. It would be detrimental to us,” said Chrissy Stone, owner of Chrissy’s Hair Color Experts.

Arameh Yeghikian, co-owner of gourmet pizza restaurant George’s Cucina Italiana, said a crosswalk would be “hectic” for customers who already have limited parking options.

Yeghikian said the increased interest in Kenneth Village’s pedestrian safety may be tied to the Village’s rise in popularity.

“It’s odd how all of a sudden, the Village gets busy and the city is looking into it. We really don’t understand,” Yeghikian said.

“[City officials] want a safe way to get to Kenneth Village in the middle of the block” because of jaywalking and speeding concerns,” Stone said.

She added her belief that pedestrians don’t always pay attention to cars. “Since we have a speeding problem, we felt more people would be hurt” [with a crosswalk in place],” she said.

Yeghikian disagrees with the notion that Kenneth Village, which lies between Sonora and Grandview avenues, needs a crosswalk for safety when no incident has occurred since his business opened.

“We’ve been there for 10 years. The Village has been there for well over 50 years. We haven’t seen anyone have any accident. It’s unheard of,” he said.

Lorenz said that no more future meetings about the crosswalk are planned.

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