Blue Line pedestrian fatality

Los Angeles Sheriff’s Dept. deputies are investigating the fatality of a male pedestrian who made contact with a southbound Blue Line train at the 130th St. crossing between the Compton and Imperial stations at approx. 7:40 p.m. on Friday. No details regarding the circumstances of the incident are forthcoming at this time.

Categories: Transportation News

16 replies

  1. I express my apologizes to the family members of the fatality. I don’t understand why Metro can make safety improvements for the blue line. The pedestrian features on the gold line should be placed on the blue line & add the yellow ramp platforms. The expo line will have these new features which is scheduled for service in 2011.

  2. Keep in mind one important thing where this incident happened was at a operating signal crossing. Anywhere else along the blue line tracks in this area is protected by fencing. The only areas not fenced are the portions operated along Washington Blvd and Long Beach Blvd in the downtown areas.

  3. I am sorry to tell you Connor, a LRT blueline train is about 90 feet long, a Red line traing is 150 ft. long. So a 3 car train for LRT is about 270 feet long where a Red line train running in a 3 train config is about 450 feet long, almost 200 feet longer than the LRT

  4. The reason I compare the higher capacity heavy rail modes with LRT is because the two mode types can be bridged in terms of operation and usefulness. Light rail is defined by flexibility, specifically how it can move up steeper grades and through tighter curves and is CAPABLE of running in a street environment. It does not define, however, what level of grade it runs, i.e. subway, elevated, under/over-crossing, surface level etc. Also the capacity of light rail can be configured to come close to levels of a standard heavy rail train through proper seating placements for space and the coupling of cars to form longer trains. A typical lightrail car is longer than a heavyrail car, so a 3 car LRT train for example (they can go up to 4 or 5) is roughly equivelent to a 5 or 6 car red line train or a 6 car CTA train in Chicago for example (maybe those are better examples than BART trains). So the main capacity constraint is width, but not by a large amount. In terms of the commute patterns, urban layout, etc. there are certainly differences, however, the only way more people are going to be more willing to use transit in the future in auto-focused Southern California is if the systems can actually compete with the car, which means speed and safety, and whether they hit destinations. That means more investment into the infrastructure to support it. The funds are limited because they are spent on the wrong things that further car culture like the 405 construction project. Maybe we should look into public/private partnerships similar to Japan’s systems. The earthquake risk really does not hold the most burden of the cost relative to everything else. Look at our freeways. Sure we’ve had a couple mishaps, and those certainly could have been avoided, but people certainly aren’t saying that we shouldn’t build freeways because of that. Every place has its hazards, and building for seismically active areas is nothing new or very complex this day in age. Also there are several sections of the blue line that are already grade separated even when on the freight right of way, the problem is that its not done enough because the official outdated grade crossing policy has a threshold that is way to high for an area like los angeles. And it states that any future grade separation is not feasible once it has been built. Basically no grade separation will be added or constructed no matter how much increase in traffic or development occurs which just opens the door for major problems later on. The biggest issue may not be with the intersection being discussed here in particular (it has crossing gates), but it is an overall problem with how these lines are being built, like with the street running sections which are in constant conflict with autos and slow the system down more. Most of those sections don’t even have signal preemption!!

  5. Basically, using the logic that all trains must be grade separated to protect people, then all cars should be grade separated as well as far more people are involved in car/car and car/pedestrian accidents than in train accidents.

  6. I agree with Connor, LACMTA should have grade separation for all or most of the rail lines. Remember Murphy’s Law? Anything may go wrong will go wrong, so we should never under-estimate how stupid people can be. Grade separation is the best fool-proof practice we can have for the rail lines. Actually I think the LACMTA should even do more. This September I paid a visit to Beijing, the newer subway lines there have gates on the platform, and they won’t open until the trains come, so you don’t even have a chance to jump onto the tracks. I know grade separation and gates on platform will cost a lot of money, but if they can save people’s lives, then it’s worthy to have them.

  7. Responses to several of the above posts:

    1) While my condolences go out to the individual’s family & friends, until it is determined whether the pedestrian was sober and in full control of his decisions, blaming the Transit System/mode is useless.

    2) BART is a 3rd rail, high capacity (up to 10 units per train), high speed (up to 80 MPH) system that is much closer in comparison (equipment & systems) to the Metro Subway (Red & Purple Lines) than the Overhead Catenary System used for the Blue/Green/Gold/Expo and future Light Rail Metro Lines. These systems (BART/MBL) can not be compared. In fact, with it’s single community feeder stations and multiple urban City destination stations, BART is more like the combined Metrolink/MetroRail systems, just without the train to train transfers (although the MUNI system dovetails into BART just as MetroRail does Metrolink).

    3) Transit Capital Construction Funds are limited, not infinite, and need to be used in the most efficient manner possible. Grade Seperations require structures that in seismically active California are expensive. Lowering a street to pass under a right of way involves months of traffic and other inconveniences while bridges are built and roads are constructed that some neighborhoods won’t tolerate. Building a structure to pass over the street may not be acceptable to a community either even if it is affordable.

    4) Most of California will be automobile focused as an artifact of geography and when it was planned/developed/built. The San Fransisco Bay Area has geographic features that focus historic and some future employment centers in two concentrated areas (downtown Oakland/San Fransisco). Like older Metropolisis on the East U.S. Coast, this sets up a strong directional commuting pattern and makes mass transit more efficient. In addition, the commuting choke points that the various bridges across the SF Bay create adds further incentive/effeciency to the commuter transit system (BART).

    4) Southern California, with it’s lack of one single, high density, defined employment center, makes planning and operating mass transit a much greater challenge. While there are some high volume flows, flow in every direction of the compass is increased during commute hours. Only as the region’s population and employment becomes more dense will we be able to see greater use of mass transit systems.

    5. Lastly, the Blue Line right of way parallels and shares grade crossings with a frieght RR (UP) right of way along a significant length of the right of way. Grade seperation in this area would be limited to lowering the cross streets due to the 3% max grade for the frieghts (this means if you want to raise a frieght RR track 50 feet, you need to start almost 1700 feet (or .3 miles) away.

  8. I agree with R, Reginalds comments are pretty offensive (and bizarre); I’m surprised the moderator posted them.

    Anyway, when you are around the Blue Line, it’s incredibly obvious where you should be and what you should/should not be doing. It’s always surprising to me when someone gets hit on accident by that train.

    In regards to the grade separation: that’s cool and all, but would cost a fortune.

  9. @ Fakename70j
    I agree with what you say about people lacking vigilance and it will take time for people to adjust to transit culture. Dont get me wrong, there is no excuse for crossing the tracks where there are obvious signs and signals. However, from a technical standpoint these trains are operating as longer distance regional rail as opposed to the more localized ones in San Francisco with more frequent stops and therefore lower speeds. Obviously we can’t just do that here because LA is much larger geographically. The blue line is more like BART in terms of the targeted riders the intended trips to be taken across LA as are the other MetroRail lines. Safety is an added bonus to grade separation because it mitigates pedestrians having to interface with moving trains altogether. It sucks that people are not more smart about it but unfortunately that’s the reality of having frequent trains running through these relatively dense neighborhoods. No matter what the reason is that the accident happened, it is still avoidable and is tragic and costly when it does happen. This is more than just about safety too. Its about having an efficient and fast system that is safe for both pedestrians and riders alike, can attract on-the-fence riders and can accommodate future growth which is inevitable in southern california. The bottom line is that at-grade crossings are an inappropriate mode for what we are trying to build and safely maintain in the areas they are being built in. I appreciate what we have and support it, but I also believe many improvements are needed that are really not all that complex, like this one. There is just a lack political will to address and fix them.

  10. Poor man. MTA and LA County Authorities should put more resources and attention to Willowbrook and Willowbrook Ave. More crackdown is needed by the LASD. Beautification of the street with installing a sort of fence like they are in the city of Compton or planting more vegetation to make it hard for people to cross it could help.

  11. @ Connor Gilliland:
    You can have all the grade separation possible, but it won’t do a damn bit of good if people just won’t STAY OFF THE TRACKS!!! I don’t know what it is about the brain of people in the Los Angeles area that just won’t allow them to keep away from and out of the way of that big thing on rails barreling towards them. There’s even less grade separation with certain lines in San Francisco, but, you don’t see this type of problem up there like down here. Maybe SF is more accustomed to the presence of rail than L.A.

  12. I don’t think it’s too much to ask pedestrians to obey all traffic signals, and only use dedicated crosswalks. Furthermore there is a clear icon indicating when a MetroRail Train is in proximity. If pedestrians choose not to obey, that is their fault, because there is plenty of warnings. Darwin’s Law in effect, if you choose to not obey the traffic signals.

  13. The solution is simple, and necessary for many reasons: GRADE SEPARATION!!! Just because it is the first line in LA does not make it an excuse to ignore the importance of modernizing it. If MTA truly learned from their mistakes, they would realize, 1: They have a flawed grade crossing policy with way to high of a threshold for it. 2: They would admit to their lack of commitment to rail transit (sustainable urban transit in general) instead of spending billions on highway “improvements” (405 anyone?) in a region that is more auto-dependent than any realistic road capacity can even come close to matching. Aren’t we trying to encourage less use of the car in the first place?!

  14. The blue line was the first light rail line in LA, we’ve been learning from our mistakes. There will never be a train or anything else in this world for that matter that is 100% safe nor 100% perfect. I’m just glad we have a train 🙂
    I <3 LA & METRO , I <3 California, & I <3 my country even if none of them are perfect.

  15. WTF are people doing ON the track? While MTA polices wether or now blacks/whites paid our fare and if we are eating, nothing is done about hispanics walking and driving on the tracks while trains are going by! Again this train, MTA LA and the whole State of California embarrasses me!