Volunteers count cyclists, pedestrians

GLENDALE — Shortly after 10 a.m. Saturday, a bicyclist sped through Glenoaks Boulevard and Grandview Avenue. Minutes later, two women donning workout attire jogged past the same corner.

In turn, Pasadena City College student Alberto Luna made sure to mark three hash marks on his clipboard. Luna also noted the direction they were traveling and the fact that the cyclist was wearing a helmet and traveling on the street as opposed to the sidewalk.

Luna was one of dozens of volunteers manning street corners throughout Glendale on Saturday morning for the city's second annual bicyclist and pedestrian count. More than 90 volunteers took part in counting during Wednesday's morning and afternoon commute times and Saturday morning.

"The idea is that you are trying to capture a typical day," said Colin Bogart, a liaison with the nonprofit Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition who's been working with city officials to implement a Safe and Healthy Streets plan.

Combined with tallies from last year's count, the results of the citywide survey will be used to help shape policy recommendations for safety improvements and education efforts for a city long plagued by pedestrian-vehicle collisions.

On Sept. 15, 80-year-old Misak Ranjbar was struck and killed by a motorist at Columbus and California avenues. No charges have been filed against the driver, 20-year-old Ani Voskanian, as the investigation is ongoing.

In January, 49-year-old Montrose resident Joo Lee died from injuries he sustained after being struck and thrown 70 feet by an SUV as he crossed a street New Year's Day. The driver of that car has not yet been found.

"I think to some degree we have to raise the bar of expectations for motorists," Bogart said.

Along with measuring the numbers of cyclists and pedestrians during a few two-hour periods, the count also notes important safety information about the habits of the cyclists, such as how many wore helmets.

The 26 counting locations were chosen because they matched proposed bike routes, or are commonly traveled routes for bicyclists and pedestrians, officials said. Other spots included Los Feliz Boulevard and San Fernando Road, Glendale and Wilson avenues, and Foothill Boulevard and Pennsylvania Avenue.

At the corner of Glenoaks and Grandview, Luna and Daly High School student Albert Carrillo were joined by case manager Marco Tejadilla, who works for the city's Community Services and Parks Department.

"We're getting them involved in the community," Tejadilla said. "It's good experience for them to learn about the importance of getting data like this."

In last year's count, Glenoaks and Grandview was one of the top spots for bicyclists, along with nearby Flower Street and Sonora Avenue and Honolulu Avenue and Ocean View Boulevard in Montrose.

Bogart said he is eager to compare this year's numbers with last year's results.

For example, he said he is interested to see if the addition of sharrows — markings that indicate where cyclists should travel on the road to avoid being hit — on a number of Glendale streets resulted in more cyclists hitting the streets.

"The idea is that we would do this every year so that over time you can start seeing patterns and trends," Bogart said.

Around noon Saturday, volunteers began to meet Bogart at the city's Chess Park on Brand Boulevard with their tally sheets.

Glendale resident Clarence Treat dropped off the data he collected near Glendale High School on Wednesday and at Chevy Chase Drive and Glenoaks Boulevard on Saturday.

He said he took part because he would like to see safety conditions improve in Glendale.

"I like to ride my bicycle," he said. "But I'm not going to as it is."

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