Metro 3, Cars 0

Ξ February 18th, 2008 | → 2 Comments | ∇ Highland Park |

I like to think that the average Highland Park resident has a pretty good head on their shoulders and typically a lot going for them. Therefore, I would assume most everyone here is aware that 1) red lights mean stop, 2) trains are really, really big and 3) running a red light (1) right in front of an on-coming train (2) is a really bad idea. Seem reasonable?

Well yesterday, for the third time since September, somebody once again challenged all these assumptions and lost. In what is becoming all too common of an occurrence, yet another car blazed through the closing gates north of Figueroa only to be hit by the Gold Line. Fortunately it happened late on a Sunday evening (8:50, according to the Times), meaning the train most likely had very few passengers, and nobody besides the driver of the car was injured.

September’s Fiery Crash (photo courtesy Waltrrrrr)

I find this most recent event purely aggravating, for a number of reasons. For one, though low on my list, is its hindrance of me easily getting to Mr. T’s Bowl for a concert last night. Over an hour after happening, Avenue 57 and Fig was still blocked off by a half-dozen police cars, and numerous flares and cones.
The larger issue, of course, is the complete pointlessness of the incident and the ramifications it has for other HP residents, commuters, and Angelinos in general. Expanding the Gold Line out here and beyond has been a somewhat controversial and hugely expensive project for the city. Meanwhile, few people benefit from it other than the residents it most directly serves—i.e. us. We’re the ones who get less traffic and better commutes. Now, because of a handful of impatient morons, the city will be spending even more money on cleanup, policing, new barricades, and potentially settling lawsuits and so on. Plus, it obviously hampers the commute for anybody riding on the train, and anybody trying to drive nearby. Combined, these things surely make further expansion more difficult, and also make fewer people willing to ride our light rail.

Finally, terrible as it is to say, I couldn’t help but think in the back of my mind that I’m a little disappointed the driver of the car wasn’t in more trouble. Actually, there really isn’t much information at all as to what happens to these people after they are released from the hospital, but for as much damage as he caused, only a few bumps and bruises seems karmacally short of what is deserved. What will it take to dissuade more people from trying to outrun an on-coming train? Hopefully at very least, a huge bill from the city of Los Angeles.


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