During their monthly meeting this morning, the Metro Board of Directors approved the contract to launch a program aiming to address trespassing and identify locations where at-grade crossings could become grade-separated along 160 miles of Metro-owned railroad tracks in L.A. County.
The right-of-way that will be studied is owned by Metro but used by the Southern California Regional Rail Authority for its Metrolink commuter service, which Metro primarily funds.
Here’s Metro’s press release:
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors today approved the contract for the L.A. County Grade Crossing and Corridor Safety Program, authorizing engineering studies to identify potential safety improvements at approximately 153 pedestrian and vehicular at-grade crossings along 160 miles of Metro-owned right-of-way in Los Angeles County.
The program is part of a three-year, $3.87 million contract that was awarded to the engineering firm AECOM. The program will establish a comprehensive strategy for grade crossing safety on Metro-owned right-of-way currently operated by the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA) for the Metrolink commuter rail service. It will identify opportunities to address trespassing and other issues that would enhance safety, including locations where at-grade crossings could become grade-seperated.
“Safety will always be Metro’s number one priority,” said Metro CEO Phil Washington. “Our responsibility as the region’s largest transportation agency is to develop programs like this one to identify areas where we can implement additional safety enhancements along our rail corridors and potentially save lives.”
The overall program will also include an analysis of methods to prevent unauthorized access to the right-of-way through enforcement, fencing, and the application of advanced technology. In addition, state and federal grant opportunities will be explored as a means of funding these enhancements.
The L.A. County Grade Crossing and Corridor Safety Program will supplement SCRRA’s Sealed Corridor Program. Implemented in 2006, the program has enabled SCRRA to upgrade several crossings with state-of-the-art equipment, including in some cases, enhanced pedestrian treatments, four-quadrant gates, and advanced preemption.
The approval of the program coincides with California Rail Safety Month, a month-long public education campaign occuring every September headed by the non-profit public safety organization California Operation Lifesaver. The goal of the organization is to reduce the number of tragic incidents at highway-rail grade crossing intersections and trespassing on railroad tracks. More information can be found at www.caol.us.