Phoenix Drivers Confused by Light Rail
The light-rail line in Phoenix has been running for a year now. But automobile drivers are still having trouble getting used to dealing with the ...
The light-rail line in Phoenix has been running for a year now. But automobile drivers are still having trouble getting used to dealing with the trains. In the past 12 months, there have been 51 accidents involving the trains.
I was in Phoenix in May 2008 to report a Governing story about the city's inaugural attempt at rail transit. One of the biggest concerns the city had was how to get residents -- almost none of whom have ever had to deal with mass transit -- to pay attention.
Here's what I wrote then:
There's also the challenge of building and operating a rail system in an area where drivers and pedestrians simply aren't accustomed to sharing the road with a train. That was a huge problem in Houston when that city opened its first light-rail line several years ago. The first train-car collision occurred during the testing phase, before the system was officially open. By mid-2004 -- six months into operations -- Houston's METRORail set a new record for most accidents in a year. Critics dubbed the Houston lines the "Streetcar Named Disaster" or the "Wham-Bam-Tram."
Since then, Houston and other cities have put more of an emphasis on educating drivers and pedestrians. Phoenix actually overhauled its blueprints in response to the accidents in Houston. "We were 65 percent into our design process and we went back to the drawing board," says Maria Hyatt, assistant to the Phoenix city manager. The city redesigned many of the intersections where trains and automobile traffic would meet. New features were added, such as large sidewalk planters to discourage pedestrians from walking into the path of a train. "All of the changes were a result of going to Houston and seeing where their accidents were occurring and why they were occurring."
Looks like, despite the best efforts in Phoenix, this is still an issue.
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
Most States Have No Laws About Guns in Polling Places1 day ago
Write-In Votes Aren't Allowed for President in 9 States1 day ago
To Curb Unintended Pregnancy, States Turn to IUDs -- in the Delivery Room1 day ago
Planned Parenthood Wins Battle to Block Mississippi Law1 day ago
Children, Rejoice! Chocolate Milk May Return to Menus in America's Largest School District1 day ago
County Executive's Arrest Could Disturb Region's GOP Machine for Years to Come1 day ago