Politics

LA Metro moving to close down dangerous rail crossings

Metrolink and other agencies have invested millions of dollars to improve safety on dangerous at-grade crossings.
Metrolink and other agencies have invested millions of dollars to improve safety on dangerous at-grade crossings.
Paul Kimo McGregor via Flickr

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As train service expands in Southern California, concerns have been growing over dangerous rail crossings where tracks intersect with cars, pedestrians and bicycles.

The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority is considering closing down two of the riskiest local crossings: both along San Fernando Road at the border of Atwater Village and Glendale. The agency wants to completely divert traffic from the tracks by building a connector to other streets.

 Map courtesy of Metro

At-grade crossings, where the road and train tracks meet, have been a big focus for safety improvements over the last decade since a Metrolink train crashed into a car, derailing and killing 11 people in 2005 at the Chevy Chase Drive crossing in Glendale.

The two crossings under review now, at Doran Street and Broadway/Brazil, are among the busiest because they straddle an industrial area and a residential neighborhood. The intersections have seen a combined 22 accidents, resulting in seven fatalities since 1976.

"There is no solution that solves all the problems," said Glendale Mayor Ara Nazarian, who also sits on the Metro board.

He said his constituents in Glendale tell him they don't want cars rerouted into their neighborhoods and companies located adjacent to the train tracks worry a diversion would hurt business.

Nazarian said as rail projects like the bullet train and light rail move forward in the region, the need to eliminate at-grade crossings will only intensify.

"It is really imperative that we don't put any of the vehicles, pedestrians or bicyclists at risk when the cross the tracks."