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After fatal hit-and-run tragedy, police conduct traffic safety operation

Nearly 50 drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists were cited Monday during a traffic-enforcement operation conducted on the heels of a fatal hit-and-run collision that claimed the life of a 4-year-old girl, authorities said.

Extra officers were patrolling high-collision areas looking for speeding drivers, as well as those making illegal turns, failing to halt for stop signs or yield to pedestrians. Jaywalkers and cyclists violating traffic rules were also targeted.

Nineteen drivers were cited for not yielding to pedestrians, while 19 pedestrians were cited for crossing the street illegally, said Glendale Police spokeswoman Tahnee Lightfoot.

Meanwhile, seven bicyclists were cited — three for riding on the sidewalk, one for running a red light and three for wearing headphones while cycling.

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The grant-funded operation ran from noon to 6 p.m. Monday.

The operation came just three days after a 4-year-old girl was killed in a hit-and-run incident after she ran into traffic from the frontyard of her apartment complex. The driver turned himself in the following day.

On Tuesday, the day after the operation, another pedestrian was struck while crossing the street at San Fernando Road and Palmer Avenue in Glendale.

The victim was hospitalized in critical condition with “numerous internal injuries,” Lightfoot said.

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It appears the pedestrian was on his cellphone, Deputy Police Chief Carl Povilaitis said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Special-enforcement operations are among a number of traffic-safety initiatives officials have implemented because of Glendale’s history of traffic collisions involving pedestrians.

Last year, five pedestrians and one bicyclist were fatally struck by cars at various locations in Glendale. Of those incidents, four pedestrians and the cyclist were determined to be at fault.

In January, the city installed walking flags at two unmarked crosswalks, which officials said would give drivers better visibility of people crossing the street.

However, Glendale Mayor Zareh Sinanyan on Tuesday expressed frustration that the conventional methods being used to curb collisions don’t appear to be working.

He suggested the city host an event, similar to CicLAvia, in which Glendale would shut down a major thoroughfare, such as Glenoaks Boulevard, and host a pedestrian- and bicyclist-friendly event to raise awareness about traffic safety.

City Manager Scott Ochoa plans to bring back a report on the cost and logistics of such an event.

“Maybe it is time to do something that is a little bit of a shock to the senses,” Ochoa said.

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