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Glendale launches pedestrian/cyclist/driver safety campaign

File photo by Eric Paparatto via Flickr Creative Commons

Glendale launched the new Be Street Smart Glendale campaign Tuesday to promote safety on the city's streets, asking members of the Glendale community to walk smart, drive smart and bike smart.

"This is an issue across the nation. And it is something very important to us and our community members," Glendale Community Outreach Assistant Eliza Papazian told KPCC. "It's just our way of educating and encouraging each and every person in our community to take personal responsibility for their own safety and the safety of others when walking, driving, or biking in Glendale."

Why now? According to a press release from the city, pedestrian collisions increase in Glendale at this time of year with the end of Daylight Savings on Nov. 6 — particularly between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

"Earlier sunsets (as early as 5 p.m. in January) and fewer hours of daylight overall can make it harder for drivers to see people walking, which may be one factor that contributes to the rise in collisions," the press release states.

The effort's mission: Making sure that people take personal responsibility for their safety and are aware of their surroundings, according to Papazian. One of the messages on Glendale billboards as part of the campaign: "One road, many users."

"Obviously, when you're driving, you, as an individual, you believe you're taking the right measures, but just making sure that everyone's aware that it is their responsibility, not only to keep themselves safe, but to also be aware of the safety of others when driving, or walking, or biking in Glendale," Papazian said.

Tips for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers

Bicyclists and pedestrians in particular need to be aware of their surroundings, Papazian said. She offered tips for pedestrians and bicyclists:

* Make sure that you are seen when you're crossing the street.
* Don't assume that, when there's a walk signal, you can go ahead and walk without looking to your left and right.
* Make eye contact with the drivers around you so they know that you are about to cross the street.

She added this advice for drivers:

* Although you get the street signals, make sure that you're looking for pedestrians and bicyclists when making turns.

The city is particularly focused on the safety of seniors and of children who walk or bike to school, Papazian said.

The Billion Step Challenge

An extra leg of the campaign: The Billion Step Challenge. They want to sign people up, with everyone working toward a goal of taking 1 billion steps together.

"This campaign's not only about safety, but it's also to encourage walking and biking, and more physical activity throughout the course of the campaign," Papazian said. "So we're not just focusing on making people aware of safety measures, but also encouraging, I guess you could say, less traffic, by encouraging walking and biking throughout Glendale."

They've already brought on board Glendale dignitaries, including the mayor and city council, Papazian said.

The city is sending people out to community events for the Be Street Smart Glendale campaign, as well as conducting surveys. They've completed two of what they call "walk audits" so far, with another scheduled for Saturday.

"What we do is gather community members, go out into the community in specific areas of Glendale, and we allow them to give us feedback with a checklist that we provide," Papazian said, "in terms of the condition of the streets, the behavior of the drivers around and so forth, and they provide us feedback with regard to the area in which they conducted that walk audit."

The outreach effort is funded by a collection of grants the city received from Caltrans, Papazian said. The website has yet to launch, but details and downloadable educational materials will be available at BeStreetSmartGlendale.com.