Board approves $4.5 million for Eastside safety

The new Edward R. Roybal Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension soon will get $4.5 million in safety enhancements. The Metro Board voted to approve the additional funds for the line today on consent (that is, there was no debate).

As a result, Metro will install approximately two miles of fencing along the light rail line to prevent people from walking across the tracks. Jaywalking has been one particular problem during testing of the six-mile line between Los Angeles Union Station and East Los Angeles. About four miles of the line run on or along streets.

Here’s a link to the Board report.

Despite hefty tickets issued by law enforcement and warnings from safety ambassadors, a lot of people apparently believe that a 100,000-pound train car can stop on a dime. It can’t, even traveling at normal street-level traffic speeds.

An independent panel of rail operations and safety experts from around the country last summer concluded that the new line was designed and built to operate safely, however the panel recommended additional safety enhancements.

Besides fencing, Metro will be installing LED warning signs that a train is approaching at all crossings on Third Street, reconfiguring signage and providing additional traffic signalization, among other measures.

Most of the enhancements will be installed before the light rail line opens next month. Installation of the fencing should start early next year but safety ambassadors and Sheriff’s deputies will be deployed at critical intersections in the meantime.

The project is still within the construction budget and on schedule, and an official date for the opening will be announced shortly.

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