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Parents rally for guard

Citing Glendale traffic accident that killed a girl, group says crossing guard is needed to patrol six-way intersection.

February 04, 2009|By Zain Shauk

BURBANK — A mix of more than 20 parents and children waved signs and banners Saturday at a street corner outside Edison Elementary School in an effort to gain support for a crossing guard to be added at a six-way intersection.

Concerns have been mounting in recent years about the intersection, where Keystone Street crosses through Chandler Boulevard South, Chandler Boulevard North and the Chandler Bikeway, causing confusion among drivers at any of the six stop signs and a danger for children walking to Edison, parents say.

But parents are determined to make sure a change happens this year, after a traffic-related death outside a school in Glendale made the situation seem more urgent, PTA President Donna Cunningham said.

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An 11-year-old girl was struck and killed by a distracted driver while walking in a crosswalk in front of Glendale’s Toll Middle School in October, spurring a series of additional traffic measures around the school, where an elementary school and high school are also located.

“We want to avoid what happened in Glendale,” Cunningham said.

But the infrastructure and traffic patterns surrounding Toll are completely different from the intersection outside Edison, said Kenneth Johnson, the city’s traffic engineer.

At Toll, a series of traffic measures were already in place before the accident, including a crosswalk with flashing yellow lights and sidewalk bump-outs that reduced the distance pedestrians had to spend in the street.

Still, the student was killed because of a distracted driver, Johnson said.

“I don’t think it’s comparative because there are a lot of things in place in Glendale, and that particular time it didn’t work,” Johnson said. “But that location could go for 50 years and not have that same problem. It was a combination of factors that caused that incident.”

Johnson and his staff considered adding a crossing guard at Keystone and Chandler and have evaluated it multiple times, but have found that it does not meet California’s existing standards for requiring a crossing guard, he said.

Most drivers have obeyed the speed limit around the intersection, and although about 35 children crossed the intersection during two recent observations, only three of them were unescorted, Johnson said.

Parents have said they are afraid to let their children cross at Keystone and Chandler alone.

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