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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

State standards stipulate that a crossing guard should be added in an urban area if more than 40 children cross at an intersection during a two-hour period, although the regulations don’t specify whether an escorted child should count toward the total.

Johnson felt the criteria refer to unescorted children and did not recommend that a crossing guard was necessary at the intersection.

Parents disagree and spoke out Saturday about recent close calls at the crossing, including an incident Friday when a boy was almost hit by a driver in a large sport utility vehicle.

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The driver stopped briefly on Chandler South as the boy began crossing the street on the opposite side of the road, but the driver continued anyway, said Brian Mainolfi, who witnessed the incident and yelled at the car to stop.

“The SUV stopped right here,” Mainolfi said, pointing at a limit line. “But then went anyway, right at the child.”

The car did not hit the boy, but the incident was the latest example of unsafe driving at the intersection, Cunningham said.

“My thinking is: How many near misses equals one crossing guard?” she said.

Mayor Dave Golonski and Councilwoman Marsha Ramos visited the rally to survey the intersection.

Both agreed with demonstrators, who called out frequently for passing drivers to honk in support of a crossing guard at the site.

“Sometimes the processes we use to look at these things don’t make sense, and we need to change them,” Golonski said of the guidelines for crossing guards.

On a recent school-day morning, up to three cars were often seen occupying the intersection at the same time, with some drivers making U-turns around the bikeway and others driving past one street to make a turn at the next.

Bike riders also pass through the intersection without stopping, causing another distraction for drivers navigating the space and making it almost like an eight-way intersection, parents said.

Johnson recently suggested that instead of adding a crossing guard at the site, the city could take away one of the crosswalks so that all of the pedestrian traffic is shifted into one area. The move would create less confusion for drivers at the wide intersection, allowing them to look at one area in order to keep track of people crossing the street, he said.

But Golonski and Ramos each referred to the complexity of the intersection and its proximity to the school as important factors that call for a crossing guard.

Johnson will meet with the concerned parents Feb. 12 to discuss the issue and is continuing to weigh a solution at the site, although he said the near-accidents there weren’t necessarily evidence that action was necessary.

The intersection is complicated and drivers are sometimes confused, but no serious problems have occurred, he said.

“Initially, someone turning is looking all around to see what’s going on and may not see that there is someone crossing at the other end of the intersection,” he said. “But they eventually do, and may not stop the way the parents might like them to, but we really didn’t see that much of a safety issue.”


 ZAIN SHAUK covers education. He may be reached at (818) 637-3238 or by e-mail at zain.shauk@latimes.com.

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