Amid car vs. pedestrian crashes police stress safety

SOUTH GLENDALE—Frightening images of a woman in her 60s being thrown into the air as she is struck by a car while walking in a crosswalk served as a stark example Thursday of the city’s most visible public safety issue.

Glendale police Officer Bryan Duncan played the surveillance video during a community meeting in Pacific Park. It showed the woman struck and tossed to the ground after being hit by a motorist at Brand Boulevard and Harvard Street. Miraculously, he said, the woman was able to walk away from the collision.

“This is what happens on a regular basis in the city and it’s because of two different factors: pedestrians don’t give enough time to look before they walk, or the driver is not paying attention,” Duncan said.

The video and photographs of vehicles damaged in pedestrian-involved traffic collisions drew strong reactions from those in attendance. Officers at the meeting also talked about how the various public safety and quality-of-life issues were affecting the neighborhood.

“Look at the indentation on that window,” Duncan told residents, pointing at photos of crashed vehicles. “That’s someone’s head striking that vehicle.”

Collision scenes have become all too familiar to police and residents in Glendale, which was ranked as having the third-worst pedestrian-involved collision rate by the California Office of Public Safety in 2009. The study ranked 56 California cities with populations between 100,001 and 250,000.

“You drive here, you see the issues,” Duncan said.

Jose Salgado, a security guard at a building on the 500 block of North Central Avenue, is well aware of the city’s public safety issues with pedestrians and motorists.

Salgado, who attended the meeting, has begun taking photographs of motorists who, he said, drive impatiently through crosswalks with pedestrians still in them.

“You see people almost getting hit on a daily basis,” he said.

Police have conducted several traffic enforcement operations and organized public education campaigns to get the word out about speeding, distracted driving and pedestrian-involved collisions. But crashes continue to occur, Duncan acknowledged.

“Whether it be a trend, whether it be demographics, whether it be the drivers now not paying attention to the pedestrians as much, we don’t know,” he said. “So, we are trying to do everything humanly possible to stop these pedestrian collisions.”

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