Metro, LA County leaders seek solutions to Blue Line dangers

A Blue Line Train arrives at 103rd St/Kenneth Hahn Station.
A Blue Line Train arrives at 103rd St/Kenneth Hahn Station.
Raghu Manavalan

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With six deaths reported along the route this year, the Metro Blue Line — the Southland's busiest commuter rail line — is on its way to its deadliest year since it opened in 1990.

Four of those six Blue Line fatalities this year were suicides. Some passengers who travel the 22-mile route say it's far too easy for people to jump in front of trains. L.A. County supervisor and Metro board member Zev Yaroslavsky says the Gold, Red and newly opened Expo light rail lines aren't nearly this dangerous.

"We have spent hours talking about this penny-sized chip on a weld in the Exposition Light rail line which (has) created no problems for anybody," says Yaroslavsky. "But we haven't spent a minute talking about these fatalities and this is a much bigger safety issue."

Metro chief Art Leahy says his agency is looking for answers.

"Nothing is more important than safety. So if we find a way that we believe will reduce accidents and/or fatalities, I'm going to go to the board and we'll find the money to get it done."

Several other Blue Line crashes have involved cars that attempted to run through barricades at the last minute to beat trains.

Authorities are calling for a safety task force aimed at preventing deadly crashes or other incidents on the Metro Blue Line, and say they're working with the L.A. County Sheriffs Department to deploy more deputies along the route.