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Community Commentary -- Mari Neutra

I attended the meeting held by the Glendale Transportation and Parking

Commission Feb. 25 in the City Council chambers.

The meeting started at 6 p.m. and ended just after 11 p.m., lasting just over five hours.

The agenda was to hear the recommendation of the director of Public

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Works, who would report on recommending Phase 11 of the traffic-calming

master plan, which would fix permanently in place all of the test-case

circles and the traffic bumps that fill our streets in the Rossmoyne

area, and possibly more.

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As my neighbors and myself had no knowledge whatsoever of these

calming circles, attending this meeting was mandatory.

The council chamber was filled. I listened intensely to the

emergency-room physician who spoke, stating that seconds -- seconds --

save lives. When getting to the injured, the accident victims, the

emergency 911 call victims, children drowning in pools, stroke and

heart-attack victims, seconds count.

I listened to the official from the Glendale Fire Department

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repeatedly answer questions from the commission. “Do minutes in getting

to a fire call on time, before that fire turns into a disaster, count?”

Yes, sir, minutes count! Minutes count! Minutes will prevent a

disaster.

Sirens and flashing lights do not make zigzagging around a traffic

circle faster. But they do have priority through stop signs and traffic

lights. The sirens, the flashing lights, come first, with no obstructions

to slow them down.

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We need more stop signs, we need lower speed limits, and possibly a

traffic light on Mountain Street.

I understand that heavy fire equipment is not designed to withstand

going over these many speed bumps. The gear grinding of these huge fire

engines is extremely costly. Our fire department vehicles must be kept in

top condition around the clock. Conditions that will cause constant

slowing down of these heavy vehicles will add to mechanical wear.

All streets north of Mountain are the most vulnerable to fire. These

streets at the joining onto Mountain Street have circles on three sides

of them at that point, to the east, to the south and to the west.

Should a fire start in those hill areas, by the time the fire

department got there, we would have an inferno. The designated streets

are not enough. By having placed the calming circles, the Public Works

department has made a gross miscalculation, has endangered our lives and

our property.

I listened to staff from Public Works recommend more bicycles; I would

love to join the Tuesday Morning Bicycle Club, even though I do not have

a bike. But alas, there are carpools to maintain, we have to get our

children to and from school. We have to get to our offices and places of

work to earn a living. We have to get to markets, to the doctor’s office,

we need to care for elderly relatives. Not even a bicycle built for two

would take care of that lot!

I listened to the same public works official show us slides of circles

that “work,” that are beautifully maintained with plants and fancy

stonework. It was obvious these pictures were from areas with three times

the space to place those lush circles as we have in the Rossmoyne area.

Our circles are centered with manholes that cannot be removed, or covered

up with landscaping.

I listened as 90% of the audience made it very clear that the measures

now in place should not become permanent.

The beauty of Mountain Street as it was is priceless. With the

majestic pine trees, pine cones, squirrels, with that special light that

flows through the pines, is a street that most cities would dream to

have! Taking a walk along Mountain Street was as if you were up and away

in a mountain area. Now our beautiful street has been polluted, with

signs directing traffic to deadly and hazardous circles.

I also understand these circles will cost more than $69,000, which

does not include problems that could occur during construction, or the

lifelong maintenance of these circles.

Simply do away with circles and bumps, add more stop signs, lower the

speed limits on these streets, and with the money saved, add a police

officer. We could even afford a new motorbike for that officer.

The meeting ended with staff being instructed to prepare an up-to-date

survey, as the survey that had been presented by Public Works was done in

1999. That is three years old, by my calculation.

MARI NEUTRA

Glendale


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