Pedestrian safety efforts discussed at traffic panel in Glendale

After Lidiya Badalyan was struck in a crosswalk by a driver in July near Glendale High School, she was hospitalized for two months and remained in a full-body brace as she recovered from several broken bones.

But life just isn’t the same anymore for the 75-year-old resident, said her daughter, Lousine Sogomonian.

Badalyan maintained an active lifestyle and worked out four times a week. But she now uses a walker and can’t stand for long periods of time.

While police are still investigating the incident, her daughter said pedestrian-involved collisions like her mother’s incident have become frequent.

“I see the problem is middle-aged drivers,” she said. “They are not paying attention. They are thinking about other things.”

But a driver’s inattentiveness is not the only problem, said experts Thursday at a Traffic Safety Panel — which Glendale’s Armenian National Committee hosted.

Pedestrians, especially seniors, must be educated about the rules of the road, experts said.

Badalyan’s accident was one of 111 pedestrian-involved collisions that occurred last year in Glendale.

While the number of collisions was up by only three from 2012, pedestrian-involved fatalities jumped from one to five last year.

Of the five people killed on city streets, one victim was 55 years old while the other victims were older than 69.

Concerns from residents, police and city officials about the increasing pedestrian-involved collision and fatality rate have only exacerbated, especially following a fatal pedestrian-involved collision on Monday.

Glendale resident Abram Mehrabian, 86, was struck and killed by a vehicle on Western Avenue near Glenoaks Boulevard.

While police are still investigating the incident, they are also focused on how they can best reach out to the community about pedestrian safety.

Officer Tino Saloomen said seniors, whom he has stopped and talked to, are often surprised that there are specific laws for navigating crosswalks.

Saloomen, who grew up in Glendale, has also been struck by a vehicle. He was standing on a corner, when he was hit during a traffic collision.

Still, Saloomen said, the best outreach for traffic safety issues starts in the local schools.

High school programs similar to the “Every 15 Minutes” campaign have been successfully used to get teens started thinking about the dangers of drunk driving, he added.

Similar concepts, Saloomen said, could be applied in Glendale schools.


Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.


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