Producing pedestrian solutions

CENTRAL GLENDALE — City engineers and police officials on Wednesday finished gathering ideas during a three-day UC Berkeley-sponsored workshop for improving pedestrian safety throughout the community.

They will be organizing their ideas and suggestions for a draft version of a citywide Pedestrian Safety Action Plan in the next few weeks, said Thomas Mitchell, assistant Traffic and Transportation Department administrator.

The plan, to include possible changes to crosswalks, street lanes, enforcement and increased public awareness, will then be presented to the City Council for consideration, he said.

“We want the public's input,” Mitchell said. “They are the stakeholders.”

Funding, he said, will be a factor in any council decision. Grants can help pay for some of the street improvements, but the process is competitive because other cities are also vying for the same money, he said.

Mitchell, together with police and other city officials, reviewed the most common pedestrian and motorist behaviors during the three-day workshop at the Glendale Police Department. They also looked at the way streets and intersections were engineered and how it may be contributing to recurring problems between pedestrians and motorists.

“It gives us an idea on how to get from point A to point B,” Mitchell said.

Glendale was selected as one of 12 cities for the pedestrian safety training due to its high rate of pedestrian-related collisions and fatalities. Glendale is the first of 12 cities to kickoff the project.

Last year, four people were in pedestrian-vehicle accidents, with another 84 people injured in similar collisions

The California Office of Traffic Safety ranked Glendale in 2007 as being the third-worst in pedestrian-related accidents among other cities with a population of 100,000 to 250,000. Glendale was also the worst in terms of pedestrian accidents that involved a person older than 65.

Wednesday's workshop gave city engineers an opportunity to review current street designs and determine whether they could improve them. They also pinpointed and identified collisions with the highest rate of accidents.

Workshop facilitators told city engineers that they could enhance pedestrian safety if they change some city crosswalks by extending curb bumps, giving people a shorter distance to walk in between intersections, Mitchell said.

Transportation and Parking Commissioner Bill Weisman showed a photo during the workshop of a mother talking on a cell phone as she pushed a baby stroller through a busy intersection and an unmarked crosswalk.

He took a photo of the mother's actions when he was observing traffic patterns near Dunsmore Elementary School.

The photo, Weisman said, is an example of the daily habits of pedestrians, who walk near the elementary school.

Engineers talked about signalized intersections and the nexus between how long motorists have to wait and how long pedestrians have to walk.

“Chances are when you have a lot of pedestrians, you have a lot of vehicles,” said Wayne Ko, the city's principal traffic engineer.


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