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Glendale neighborhood takes traffic in own hands

September 22, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Traffic along one street in Glendale got so bad and potentially dangerous that the people who live there decided to take action.

But their seemingly harmless solution to the problem isn't going over well with the city.

For Joseph Vargas, who lives on the busy street, every time he drives his car out of the driveway it is a challenge.

"I'm totally blocked. Totally, totally blocked," said Vargas. "At this point I just have to use my judgment to try to get out."

And he's not alone. His neighbors say they are scared for their lives too.

"When you're backing up, someone honks at you," said resident Sarkis Gharibian. "We don't want that honk to become an accident."

"The traffic is horrendous in here and you can't get out," said resident Noemi Abdessian.

That's why Gharibian's family came up with an idea- putting up mirrors on trees to reflect the oncoming traffic and help them ease out onto the street.

Other neighbors followed suit. But the city cracked down, sending notices that they were violating city code by attaching the mirrors to trees on public property. They threatened to fine them if they aren't taken down.

"Honestly I'm not an arborist or an expert in trees, but the ordinance does not even allow you to strap anything to the tree," said Glendale Traffic and Safety Administrator Jano Baghdanian.

"If they can come up with a better idea, I'll take it," said Gharibian. "But this is the best I could come up with. I can't see myself backing up every time without the mirrors, risking it."

So far the only solution the city has come up with is to paint the curbs red, which will restrict parking for neighbors and nearby businesses. And they won't put in speed bumps because the street is a thoroughfare to the freeway.

"It could cause other safety issues," said Baghdanian. "It could reflect the sunlight into the driver's eye when driving by."

Some neighbors have taken the mirrors down, but others are standing their ground.

"Do they want a lawsuit if something happens to us? Do they want that?" said resident Noemi Abdessian. "Then that's fine. They can say anything they want to."

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