Can the new Gold Line go faster?

As more people are getting the chance to ride the Eastside Gold Line, a couple of questions keep popping up:

Question #1: Why does the train go so slow over the bridge over the Hollywood Freeway?

Answer: The train is restricted to a 15 mph speed limit because of two 90-degree turns in the tracks on the north side of the freeway, according to Metro rail officials. At the moment, the trains are only running at 10 miles per hour because that’s how the software on the train cars was programmed. Metro officials are looking into updating the software so that the trains can go 15 mph, which would reduce the travel time between Union Station and the Little Tokyo/Arts District station from four minutes to three minutes.

Question # 2: The train has to frequently stop for red lights when it’s running along streets. Why doesn’t the train get more green lights so that it can go faster?

Answer: Metro rail officials say that the street lights are presently timed to try to benefit the trains, road traffic and pedestrians. But they say that if the lights are timed solely to help trains move faster, then road traffic and pedestrians will suffer — and, in particular, pedestrians may have to wait very long periods of time until they get to cross the street.

There are some safety enhancements still to be made to the line, with more fencing along the track and some gates being added to help deter motorists from driving across the tracks when trains are approaching. But it remains to be seen if those enhancements allow the trains to safely go faster.