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Report: Traffic safety improving

Officials credit police outreach and the economy for the reduction of injuries and collisions.

January 12, 2011|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

Burbank's pedestrian safety record improved in 2009 among similarly sized cities in California, according to a recent state report.

The California Office of Traffic Safety last week ranked Burbank as 31 out of 56 in overall pedestrian safety among cities with a population of 100,001 to 250,000 — with the 56th position being the safest — for 2009, the most recent figures. In 2008, the city's record was worse, coming in at 11 among 55 cities.

Burbank moved up one spot from third- to the fourth-worst record of collisions involving senior pedestrians in 2009.

The city was ranked among 56 cities in 11 categories, which were based on the number of victims injured or killed in collisions involving pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists or alcohol.

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That year, 32 pedestrians were injured or killed in traffic collisions, according to the state Office of Traffic Safety, including seven seniors.

But Burbank Police Lt. J.J. Puglisi said he was surprised by the ranking because there weren't many collisions that year. One person was killed in traffic collisions in 2009, he added.

The Police Department has conducted traffic safety sting operations aimed at getting pedestrians and motorists to pay attention to the road, he said.

"We try to be proactive with that stuff, especially with seniors," Puglisi said.

With the city's large senior population, he said police often visit senior homes and centers to discuss the importance of traffic safety.

The overall statewide trend in 2009 showed that traffic collisions involving pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists and alcohol had decreased, agency spokesman Chris Cochran said.

The decrease was likely because vehicle manufacturing has improved, motorists are traveling fewer miles due to the recession, and more are listening to public safety campaigns, Cochran said.

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