Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Is anyone still tracking these?

Yet another greatest hit from the Danger Train.....

(15 hurt as Metro train, dump truck collide downtown, Dale Lezon, Chron.com)
Fifteen people were treated for minor injuries Tuesday morning after a dump truck collided with a Metro light rail train downtown. The truck, headed west on Capitol, struck the train at Main and Capitol at 9:15 a.m., according to Metro officials.
Thirteen passengers, the train operator and the dump truck driver were taken to St. Joseph Medical Center and Ben Taub General Hospital. They had bumps and bruises and other non-life threatening injuries, officials said.
The dump truck apparently ran a red light, according to Metro officials. The driver said the sun reflected on the traffic light and he couldn’t see that it was red. The train had a green light.

Glad to hear everyone was (for the most part) OK. Bumps and bruises but nothing (too) serious. There used to be someone on the web that was tracking the number of Danger Train collisions. Does anyone know if this is still around?

On another note: Notice how Metro officials are quick to release the information when the other vehicle (not the Metro driver) appears to be in the wrong. Had Metro been potentially at fault the story would have been: Metro is still investigating.

A bigger problem is that, years after the train has been operating, collisions with the train are still fairly commonplace. The (Metro-fed) idea that Houston drivers are wholly to blame (What part of safety don't you understand?) obscures the fact that these lines are poorly engineered. Streetcars share lanes with automobiles, but they are subject to all traffic laws, including red lights. Non-grade seperated rail in areas with high automobile traffic are accidents waiting to happen.

As Metro continues to plow ahead with this dangerous, unflexible (notice that, while the rail was down, unsexy busses had to fill the gaps. Yes, the very busses Metro has been cutting since the train started operating) rail accidents are going to continue to skyrocket, transit options are going to continue to decline, and Metro is going to continue to sink further and further into a financial abyss.

Meanwhile, as rider capacity declines, automobile congestion is going to increase.

All of this raises the Question: What problem was "Metro Solutions" trying to solve?

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