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To: humblegunner
By Jeremy Desel / 11 News

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The latest light rail crash brought the number to ten. It's still not known if the automated warning system was working Monday afternoon at the sight of the accident near the Texas Medical Center. But it was working Monday night.

The surprising thing about that particular warning sign at Fannin at Southmore is that it only lights up when a train is approaching, otherwise it's dark, with no indication for drivers that it's a Metro train warning sign.

Once the sign was activated it was just over ten seconds before the train passed, meaning a driver in that lane would only have seconds to get out of the way.

So, even if it was on, and the woman behind the wheel saw it, perhaps she wouldn't have had enough time to react to keep from turning. Going left at the intersection is legal. Passengers said the rail operator did all he could to stop, and they were scared.

The woman that was in the car is in serious condition.

But what have drivers been doing downtown?

Despite all the safety push, many people still just don't seem to get it. At one point Monday afternoon a truck turned left in front of a train and was missed by just inches.

"It's very unsafe and clearly not something that we want to have happen," said Metro Police Chief Tom Lambert

Early Monday morning, just before 1:30 a.m. a crowd was gathering on Main, cars and limos were lined up around the block. A truck's driver thought he found a short cut, but ended up stopped on the platform and both tracks for several minutes until the train came and the truck backed off.

All this happened with an HPD officer just feet away.

"In every circumstance we have to learn from that experience for example," said Lambert. "We'll have some further conversations with HPD to see how we can further leverage our partnership."

The biggest concern is when light rail trains run through the Main Event with just some new barriers to keep partygoers away.

Pedicabs have been seen running all over the tracks in downtown Houston.

If Metro Police thinks that at any time conditions do become unsafe the train will stop running at the Downtown Transit Center at Main and St. Joseph Parkway. A two-car feeder train will run back and forth to the gates at Walker. People will also be able to use the Metro Buses circulating in the downtown core.

Another concern is pedicabs. They've been seen running all over the tracks, even Monday evening, despite what drivers like Maurice Williams have been instructed. Still he thinks they're doing a good job policing themselves. "As much as I can see I haven't had any accidents, you know," said Williams. "That's the only way I can rate my success is by the accident count and we haven't had any yet."

Williams said that the pedicabs that are on the tracks the most are from out of town. They are here just for Super Bowl week and that is part of the problem.

To help combat potential trouble Metro is adding a new shift in the downtown core just to look for potential trouble on the rails.

9 posted on 01/27/2004 6:04:43 AM PST by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone
It was light rail?? we got those in Dallas.... but I live n a 'burb and they gave us a heavy rail link.... going the other way takes us to the airport or Fort Worth...
27 posted on 01/27/2004 9:07:58 PM PST by GeronL (Two kinds of people in this country: Makers and Takers........ which are you?)
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