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They’ll just have to keep seeing red

As scenic neighborhoods in Glendale go, the Marion Drive portion

of Adams Hill is pretty nice. Many of the comfortable, single-family

homes that line the winding, hilly thoroughfare rise up and away from

the street, affording their owners impressive views of south Glendale

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and into downtown. Most of the properties are well cared for, it’s

quiet, and dozens of walkers use Marion as a safe route during their

morning constitutionals.

Safe, that is, until a car, utility vehicle or delivery truck

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needs to get by. Then scenic, idyllic Marion Drive becomes a

hazardous asphalt sluice, as drivers try not to hit the many cars

parked along the curb, and pedestrians scramble to get out of the way

of oncoming vehicles, or squeeze themselves between parked cars and

those forced to dramatically slow down or stop in the middle of the

roadway.

Consequently, it’s not too surprising that the city recently

decided to paint, bright red, a lot of the curbing on Marion -- and

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we do mean a lot, if a recent walk up and down the street is any

indicator -- and designate it as a no-parking zone.

It’s a wise decision, given the street’s design, which makes it

impossible for more than one vehicle to pass when cars are parked.

Even with the new curbs, it’s a driving challenge. One wonders how

easy it would be for a Glendale Fire Department engine to get by on

many stretches of Marion, given the precision navigation exercise it

already is for the city’s trash haulers. The situation isn’t safe

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under the best of circumstances, and if it’s a police vehicle or fire

engine that needs to get by, one can only assume the circumstances

aren’t the best and speed is of the essence, which makes things even

worse.

Some residents of the neighborhood, several of whom appeared

before the Glendale City Council on Tuesday, are unhappy about the

appearance of the red curbs, which -- in all fairness to the

residents’ point of view -- are garish and abundant on Marion all of

a sudden. “It’s almost like the entire town was painted red,” one

woman averred, and although that’s stretching a colorful simile,

she’s got a point. A walk along Marion earlier this week yielded an

explosion of crimson curb color, in jarring contrast to the greenery

that dots most of the landscaping in that neighborhood.

Neighbors also are concerned about the hassles the newly painted

curbs will create for those accustomed to parking their vehicles

there; that the paint job is encouraging some people to drive faster;

and that property values will drop as a result of the curbing

alterations.

Although figuring out where to park is a legitimate concern --

just as it is on countless other streets in south Glendale, where

off-street parking is severely limited -- the other worries seem

anecdotal and farfetched. The notion that a driver is speeding up at

the sight of a red curb is alarmist, and probably based on an

incident or two that had nothing to do with curb color and everything

to do with plain old bad driving.

And property values? It’s doubtful potential home buyers would

base their decision on what color some portions of the local curbing

might be. What’s more, those concerned about protecting the grand

idol of “property values” might consider what would happen to said

values should homes in the area burn down because emergency service

vehicles couldn’t get past parked cars.

City Manager Jim Starbird assured the residents that staff would

address their concerns, and there’s no reason to believe that’s not

so. (This, despite the fact residents were notified about the curb

painting some time ago, and had an opportunity to voice their

concerns then.) We’re certain the city will do what it can to

accommodate the residents and ease their worries.

But the bottom line is safety, and without a restriction on where

people can park on Marion, the street isn’t safe, parking hassles,

property values or no. Some degree of compromise might be possible,

but it shouldn’t be at the expense of safety.


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