Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Welcome, APEC Delegates: Sorry for the Traffic Tie-Ups; Come Back and Ride Our Elevated Train

Imagine how the media will treat traffic-related issues the next time APEC comes to town.

For off-islanders, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference is being held this week in Honolulu. We’ve been treated to a stream of media stories for the past month about which roads will be closed and which will be intermittently affected.

The advice often comes down to what mainlanders hear in winter: Just don’t go out unless absolutely necessary. Many of us find it absolutely necessary to make a living, and don't go out isn’t a workable response to major traffic disruptions.

We have to think local residents will get around these disruptions in the 2020’s and beyond by riding above them. Elevated rail’s passengers will bypass surface traffic disruptions entirely.

At-Grade Accident Roundup
Which brings us back to the theme of our two most recent posts Рan expos̩ on at-grade rail accidents. We call it an expos̩ because the safety issue has been under-reported here.

Some critics of Honolulu’s intention to build elevated rail prefer an at-grade system, which they say would have fewer impacts than the elevated structure. They can only mean “visual impacts,” since at-grade rail would have far greater impacts that hardly ever are mentioned in the media.

We’re filling in the blanks here at Yes2Rail about at-grade rail’s safety record impacts, and today’s post continues our recent theme by highlighting a few cities’ experiences with their at-grade system in recent weeks.

NJ Transit and the City of Garfield are reevaluating their railroad crossing safety precautions after a 13-year-old boy was killed on OUtwater Lane near the Plauderville station earlier this month.

The woman who was hit and critically injured by a light-rail train in Denver on Friday has been identified as Laura Triem, a 21-year-old student at Metropolitan State College in Denver….Police said Triam was waiting for one train to pass when she failed to see another coming from the opposite direction and stepped into its path…. Witnesses also said the woman might have been distracted because she was wearing headphones from an iPod.

A woman injured when she was struck by a San Francisco Municipal Railway light-rail vehicle near the city’s Parkmerced neighborhood on Thursday evening is now in critical condition.

A semi-truck carrying cars pulled out into a Hillsboro MAX Monday afternoon, hurting the truck driver and seven passengers on board the train, according to the Hillsboro Fire Department… Traffic in the area was diverted at both Southeast Baseline Street and East Main Street.

Within one week at the intersection of Branbleton Avenue and Second Street in Norfolk, the light rail was involved in two accidents. Although the two crashes were similar, police only gave one of the drivers a ticket.

On Wednesday morning, one woman was transported to the hospital after a light rail collision in Folsom.

A driver takes a wrong turn in Mesa and plows iright into a support beam for the light rail. The crash shut down the light rail in both directions near Dobson and Main. Medics are now treating the driver. It’s not clear the extent of his or her injuries. Workers are busy clearing the accident, and the light rail is expected to be up and running shortly.

The autopsy on 26-year-old Jessica Christine Lubken showed she died from “multiple blunt force injuries” after being hit and dragged by a light rail train in Denver last month. Her manner of death on Sept. 20 was ruled an accident by the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner today.

At-grade rail advocates can’t hide behind their aesthetic concerns any longer. Their obsession with view planes is a good "cover" for their apparent disregard for the hazards of building rail transit at ground level.

One last thing today: Houston’s Metro trains have plowed into hundreds of vehicles during its years of operation, and YouTube has the evidence.

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