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Glendale retains city’s help

Burbank agrees to continue to maintain its neighbor’s traffic signals and other related devices.

October 24, 2007|By Jeremy Oberstein

BURBANK — City officials extended an agreement with Glendale on Tuesday to continue maintaining that city’s traffic-related devices.

Burbank has provided traffic signal maintenance for Glendale since 1993 to cut down on costs and to increase efficiency, Assistant Public Works Director Ken Johnson said.

“Back in the ’70s and early ’80s, the county of Los Angeles maintained Glendale’s traffic signals,” he said. “Then Glendale went private, and in the late ’80s there was a move for Pasadena, Burbank and Glendale to provide [a service] that would be jointly beneficial to each community. Pasadena had their [crews], so Glendale decided it would be easier and more efficient for Burbank to serve Glendale.

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“It would cost Glendale about $1 million to . . . provide their own maintenance. It was more cost-effective than the county or private contractors.”

The existing agreement calls for Burbank to service all of Glendale’s 214 traffic signals, six flashing beacons and 36 in-roadway warning light systems. Traffic crews will also complete routine inspection services for 14 closed-circuit television cameras, staff reports said.

Since the initial contract was signed 14 years ago, Glendale has renewed the agreement four times, each time committing to a smaller contract as they continually search for the most cost-effective option, Johnson said.

The current agreement expires at the end of the month. Glendale called for a nine-month extension as the city searched for a more cost-effective alternative, Johnson said.

“The contract is for $600,000 a year,” he said. “We felt that we need to maintain their signals at a minimum level to protect us from liability, but Glendale felt they didn’t need that minimum level. They think they could save up to $150,000.”

For Glendale, the issue is not about safety, but maintaining a level of budget efficiency, Glendale Traffic and Transportation Administrator Jano Baghdanian said.

“If we believe there is a cost savings to Glendale, then we will go with a private contractor,” he said. “Every five years we evaluate our contract to see if the contract price is competitive.

“We will not sacrifice the safety of Glendale. We have agreed to a standard that Burbank [has set]. We will never have any standards below that.”

But Glendale might not find a better deal elsewhere, Johnson said.

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