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Glendale residents come together to make traffic safety a priority in upcoming election

With motorcycle officers looking on, a driver appears not to stop for an undercover police officer during a Glendale Police Department traffic-safety operation at Hawthorne Street and Pacific Avenue, in this file photo taken on Jan. 29, 2014.

With motorcycle officers looking on, a driver appears not to stop for an undercover police officer during a Glendale Police Department traffic-safety operation at Hawthorne Street and Pacific Avenue, in this file photo taken on Jan. 29, 2014.

(Raul Roa / Glendale News-Press)

A small group of Glendale residents are organizing an effort to place the city’s ongoing traffic-safety issues at the forefront of the upcoming election, drafting a petition that asks the city to implement a series of suggestions that they feel will result in safer streets.

The group is known as Drive Safe Glendale and is led by Hank Schlinger, Cari Field and Mari Carlos. They came together after a Glendale Homeowners Assn. meeting last year turned into a long discussion about traffic safety in the area.

The discussion eventually led to a meeting with members of the Glendale Police Department, who Schlinger said were receptive to the problems, but gave the impression of being too understaffed to adequately quell the issue.

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“We hope to garner hundreds if not thousands of signatures on the petition and hope that will speak loudly to the current city council members as well as those running [in April] that this is a priority for a lot of people, homeowners and residents in Glendale,” Schlinger said.

An online draft of the petition outlines a series of concerns and solutions that the group hopes will end up getting the City Council’s attention and result in implementing the suggestions.

Among the eight suggestions are the installation of more traffic-calming measures on problem streets, more traffic checkpoints to catch anyone with new or outstanding violations, public school education efforts and “at least 10" traffic-enforcement officers.

“The vast majority of people we are worried about are not going to be influenced by signs or education,” Schlinger said. “The only thing that’s going to stop them from speeding or running stop signs, racing, having an illegally loud car and all that stuff is going to be enforcement and, if there is increased enforcement or penalty then, at some point, that will put a dent in the problem.”

However, city spokesman Tom Lorenz said the group’s claim that “nothing has changed in over 10 years” is inaccurate, citing a number of traffic-safety operations and pedestrian-safety campaigns that have been initiated over the years.

“There’s probably well over 150 different game plans put together in regards to pedestrian- and traffic-safety issues,” Lorenz said. “Because of all the campaigns that we’ve engaged in the past two years, just this last year we’ve reduced the number of pedestrian-related traffic accidents by 45%.”

Campaigns include a recent citywide pedestrian plan known as Be Smart Glendale, a six-year traffic-safety study and 45 pedestrian and driving-enforcement and education programs by the Glendale Police Department.

An annual study by insurance company Allstate, which ranks the frequency of collisions for their clients insured in the country’s 200 largest cities, has placed Glendale near the bottom at 195, one spot lower than 2015. Neighboring cities such as Los Angeles, Fullerton and Garden Grove haven’t fared much better.

An overall picture provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety, which collects data from several agencies, shows a poor performance in elderly pedestrian safety for Glendale, but puts it relatively on par with other incorporated Los Angeles County cities of similar size.

However, the most current Office of Traffic Safety data is from 2014.

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Jeff Landa, jeff.landa@latimes.com

Twitter: @JeffLanda


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