HomeCommunity NewsBiking, Pedestrian Safety at Forefront of Local Event

Biking, Pedestrian Safety at Forefront of Local Event

By Eliza Partika
Glendale News-Press

Walk Bike Glendale is important for local resident Tony Hacopian and his family.
For Hacopian and his two daughters, the bike safety event provides a smoother and friendlier biking experience in a city that is not always accommodating for bike riders.
“They love biking,” said Hacopian, who lives in the Verdugo Woodlands neighborhood. “Each day they ask me, ‘Dad, take me biking on the streets again.’ But the streets are not safe for biking. So I follow [Walk Bike Glendale] and what they are doing to make Glendale a safer place to bike and walk.”
More than 150 bike riders and pedestrians from all over Glendale attended the Walk Bike Glendale at Palmer Park on Aug. 6 and took advantage of the bike safety course for kids.
Participants received free bike helmets and lights, and free bike repairs offered by Walk n’ Rollers Culver City.
Hacopian thinks the bike safety course is an essential addition for kids to learn how to be safe when biking on city streets, emphasizing his appreciation for professionals teaching kids these important techniques.
Walk Bike Glendale organizer Alek Bartrosouf said the event, funded by a grant from the Southern California Association of Government, was part of Walk Bike Glendale’s summer series to teach children and adults how to bike safely in city streets.
“We want to empower communities with resources to promote active transportation in the city,” Bartrosouf wrote in a statement to the News-Press.
Walk n’ Rollers, a bike advocacy group with locations in Culver City, Oxnard and Orange County, assisted with free bike repairs at Walk Bike Glendale’s event.
Jim Shanman, executive director of Walk n’ Rollers, said he was happy to support Walk Bike Glendale in their efforts to increase the number of cyclists on the road through bike repair services and educational opportunities. He noted that often, a lack of knowledge and the expense of cycling repairs is a reason people don’t ride in cities.
“Cycling is quickly growing as a transportation option for many as cities step up their game to provide safer infrastructure,” Shanman said. “We know that many don’t ride simply because their bikes are not rideable, and often the needed repairs are minor, such as replacing an inner tube. For more complicated repairs, these services can be expensive, adding yet another barrier to riding.”
Walk Bike Glendale also engages in safety campaigns that include safer street design and fun events that bring communities together. Upcoming events include talks about bike safety, and walking and biking tours of Glendale.
This Saturday, Glendale residents are encouraged to join Walk Bike Glendale for their “Let’s Walk” event which is a 2.5 mile walking survey of the city, where advocates, including Bartrosouf, will teach community members about plans for safer streets. The event will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. and will begin at the Glendale Central Library.
Part of that plan, according to Bradley Calvert, the city’s director of community development, is the Glendale Bicycle Transportation Plan, which explores ways to reduce dependence on automobiles and integrate bicycles into the transportation system.
Additionally, Calvert said the city has started developing a citywide Vision Zero Action Plan. The goal of Vision Zero Action Plan, according to Calvert, is to reduce citywide traffic deaths by 25% by 2025, prioritizing pedestrian deaths involving older adults and children, and to eliminate traffic deaths citywide by 2030.
Vision Zero challenges the traditional approach to traffic safety by recognizing that traffic collisions aren’t random and unavoidable, wrote Calvert in a statement to the News-Press.
“With the right approach, they are predictable and preventable,” Calvert said. “The city’s Vision Zero Action Plan will describe a systemic approach that will make streets safer through proactive, low-cost measures, preventing fatal collisions on the road. The Vision Zero Action Plan will include detailed recommendations on how to implement strategies to create safer streets for all road users.”
Calvert emphasized that the Vision Zero Action Plan derives much of its underlying framework from existing plans, including the citywide Pedestrian Plan, the citywide Safety Plan and the Bicycle Transportation Plan. He says community development has embraced a vision for an active and healthy community, where bicycling can serve as a primary mode of transportation for residents and visitors.
“The city believes enhanced bicycle infrastructure coupled with supportive policies can create a significant cultural change and make cycling a way of life,” he added. “This plan aims to increase the safety and attractiveness of bicycling in Glendale and increase the number of trips made by bicycle.”
Bartrosouf put on the event to ensure that people who are biking in Glendale are safe as they traverse Glendale streets.
“With so little bicycle infrastructure currently, the hope is to pair education with advocacy for infrastructure improvements to make the biking experience safe for everyone,” said Bartrosouf.

First published in the August 19 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

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