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GOING ON THE DEFENSIVE PEDESTRIAN SAFETY PROMOTED.

Byline: Naush Boghossian Staff Writer

GLENDALE - Multilingual signs will be posted on city buses and trucks as part of an outreach campaign designed to curb the high number of pedestrian injuries and deaths in Glendale, officials said Monday.

The campaign, which mainly targets high-risk seniors and children, will include English, Armenian and Spanish signs and city-produced public service announcements, to get the word out to the community on pedestrian safety.

The signs feature the slogan ``Wait, Watch and Walk'' and advise pedestrians to ``Walk defensively. It may save your life.''

``I think educating the public, specifically the pedestrians, is extremely important, because when it comes to the rights as pedestrians, and you put it up against a car - a car wins all the time,'' said Councilman Dave Weaver.

The City Council approved in September spending $26,000 to fund the first phase of the campaign, but officials will return to the council to ask for another $26,000 to contract with the public safety group Safe Moves to host safety programs at local schools and senior centers.

Glendale has had 41 pedestrian-related fatalities over the past 11 years, including five in 2003 and one on Jan. 30.

In 2002, Glendale was the fourth city its size in California in its number of pedestrians being injured or killed, said police Lt. Don Meredith.

``For California cities our size, unfortunately we have a more significant injury or death rate of pedestrians,'' Meredith said.

One of the more significant reasons for the high number of pedestrian injuries and deaths is that more than 50 percent of Glendale's population is foreign-born and have yet to understand the traffic rules, city officials said.

``We are definitely trying to target the non-English-speaking community since we have a large immigrant population in Glendale that's new to this country and we want to educate them on how to be safe when walking in the city,'' said city spokesman Ritch Wells.

Also many pedestrians, feeling they are entitled to the right of way, are unaware of their surroundings and don't walk defensively.

``They think, I have the right of way, and the old saying goes, you could be dead right,'' Meredith said. ``Pedestrians have to account for their own safety and you can't presume the car's going to stop for you.''

The city, which experienced more than 350 vehicle-versus-pedestrian accidents since 2000, has been taking steps to improve public safety including the installation of 30 ``in-roadway warning lights,'' posting new high-intensity fluorescent yellow-green pedestrian crossing signs, re-signing and restriping all city crosswalks, and conducting more sting operations by the Glendale Police Department.

``We want to eliminate pedestrian and motorist confrontations and injuries,'' said Steve Zurn, director of public works.

Naush Boghossian, (818) 546-3306

naush.boghossian(at)dailynews.com

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Photo:

One of the new pedestrian safety posters hangs on a Glendale city waste truck during Monday's rollout of the program.

Andy Holzman/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Date:Feb 10, 2004
Words:487
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