Is twelve feet of road enough room for large fire trucks and other emergency vehicles?
Summer school ended July 31, and during the month of August when the three Glendale schools between Virginia and Concord Avenues are not in session, Public Works will be installing a permanent “continuous barrier center median” on Glenwood Road between the two streets.
Public Works presented this to the Glendale City Council on July 7 as a project already planned for with respect to specifications and expense (a contract had already been awarded for this and other improvements). The report to council included a list of 10 major street safety improvements in the immediate vicinity since 2000.
My attention was caught by the report’s specifying a four foot wide barrier (with a 36″ railing on top to discourage the most brazen jaywalkers). The street itself is 44 feet wide between Toll Middle School and Hoover High School (per my measuring tape). Each side has some parking areas. Installing a cement barrier between opposite sides of the street and adding parked cars along the curbs will leave about 12 feet of driving space for passing vehicles in each direction.
Will this latest improvement add to pedestrian and traffic safety?
For pedestrians, the insurmountable barrier will improve safety. On a recent morning I saw a man standing in front of a bus at the Hoover stop. He was about 15 feet east of the crosswalk at the corner of Glenwood and Concord. He stuck his head forward to check oncoming traffic and then ventured out onto the street instead of walking the extra 15 feet to the manned crosswalk! More recently, I was driving downhill on Canada Blvd. and after I passed the signal and crosswalk between Verdugo Park and Glendale College Parking Lot 5 I saw a man and a woman standing on the street in front of a parked car. Each of them had a stroller with a child inside. As soon as I drove past, they rushed across the street, strollers first. The lighted crosswalk was about 25 feet behind them. Pedestrians like these are far too common in Glendale. Deterring such stupidity takes a four-foot wide cement barrier with a 36″ railing.
For drivers, the barrier will deter three-point turns, left turns into school driveways, and left turns into the two private driveways along that stretch of road (an inconvenience for the homeowners). The biggest driving safety advantage I can imagine is that far fewer drivers will want to travel on the narrowed street and endure longer backups.
Could it make driving along this stretch of Glenwood Road more difficult for fire trucks and other public safety vehicles? It certainly won’t make it any easier, as trucks and large vehicles will not be able to straddle the road.