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Safety Steps Weighed for Traffic Island Where 4 Died

July 21, 1988|STEPHANIE O'NEILL | Times Staff Writer

City officials are considering several changes for the intersection where two mothers and their two daughters were struck and killed by a suspected drunk driver last week.

Kahtan B. Bayati said he may suggest that the city install guardrails around the traffic island between Canada Boulevard and Verdugo Road and move the traffic signal 50 to 100 feet north of its present location in a curve of the road.

Bayati is studying the intersection at the request of Glendale City Manager David H. Ramsay. Ramsay said he wants to determine whether changes to the roadway could prevent another such accident. The study should be completed by Friday, Bayati said.

'It's Very Difficult'

"We attempt to make a street as safe as possible," Ramsay said. "However, if people insist on excessive speed and drunk driving it's very difficult to deal with that."

Canada Boulevard, a wide, sloping street that merges from three to two lanes without warning, has caused concern among some neighbors who said they have requested unsuccessfully in years past for the city to post signs and paint merge arrows in the road.

However, Bayati said, city records show few accidents on that portion of the road since the city took it over from Caltrans in 1983. Until that time, it was a state highway. Only eight accidents, all without injury, have occurred since then, Bayati said.

"The entire intersection has been one of the safest we have in the city according to the history we have in our hand," Bayati said. "This was really a freak accident because the man was under the influence."

Struck Traffic Island

The four people were killed shortly after 8:30 p.m. on July 6 when a suspected drunk driver traveling south on Canada Boulevard drove his car into the traffic island where the two women, their daughters and a son of one of the women were waiting to cross the street. The five of them were returning home from an evening walk.

Killed were Patricia Carr, 36; her daughter Caren, 6; Valerie Cramer, 32, and her daughter Brianna, 9. Cramer's son, Billy, 11, suffered a broken hand.

The driver of the car, William K. Conway, 27, of Glendale, pleaded not guilty Friday to four counts of manslaughter and one count of causing an accident with injuries while driving under the influence of alcohol. A preliminary hearing is scheduled today in Glendale Municipal Court.

At a council meeting Tuesday, Glendale resident James De Rouen suggested the city consider landscaping the dirt-filled traffic island as a memorial to the victims.

Mayor Carl W. Raggio invited De Rouen to join a project already proposed by another citizen in which the city would plant a tree at the site for each of the four victims.

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