Traffic safety campaign keeps spreading

CENTRAL GLENDALE — Police officials and volunteers scoured city streets this weekend to hand out fliers with tips on safely navigating the roads.

Glendale Police Department’s latest public education campaign targeted pedestrians, motorists and businesses on Central Avenue. The thoroughfare has recently been the scene of several major collisions.

“When you make the contacts, that’s what really counts,” Sgt. Dennis Smith said.

Three teams of police employees and volunteers spent Saturday morning walking Central Avenue, visiting businesses and speaking to residents about traffic safety in an effort to reduce the number of pedestrian-involved traffic collisions in the city.

More than 2,500 traffic collisions occurred in Glendale last year, according to the Police Department. Of those collisions, six were fatal. More than 100 collisions involved pedestrians.

There were more traffic-related fatalities than homicides last year in Glendale, according to the Police Department’s year-end statistics.

Police staffers Tina Hartoonian and Olga Varouzian reminded residents walking on city sidewalks to always look before crossing.

“Even if the light’s green, especially when cars make a right turn, they don’t look to see if pedestrians are walking,” Varouzian said.

Most pedestrians and business owners were receptive to the public safety message, she added.

“They inquire about why we are out here and what we are doing, and they talk to us about the problems and issues that they have had,” she said.

Zhanna Petrosyan grabbed handouts to give to clients who visit her family’s business, Krounk Dance Studio.

“They are educating people,” she said.

Petrosyan said driving in the city is challenging.

“I haven’t been almost hit, but a lot of people have crossed in front of my car without looking,” she said.

Hartoonian and Varouzian met a resident who told them she had two close calls while walking in Glendale.

To reduce the number of major traffic collisions, the Police Department and city launched the public education campaign Driven 2 Distraction in November.

So far, police have staged two badly wrecked vehicles on Glenoaks Boulevard and Verdugo Road with traffic safety messages, ramped up enforcement, conducted texting and cell-phone surveys and have bought two large electronic message signs.

The campaign is funded through a $254,795 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety.

City workers also painted the word “Look” in three languages along various intersections to alert pedestrians to be vigilant before crossing Glendale streets.

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