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Another Light Rail Train Hit by a METRO Bus


citykid09

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Or at a minimum, teach their bus drivers how to drive. At times they are very aggressive and kind of oblivious to the traffic around them. I've been nearly side swiped many times due to the drivers failure to check their rear view mirror. "They'll move. I'm bigger than they are" seems to be the line of reasoning.

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A METRO bus has collided with a light rail train in downtown Houston. At least 18 people were taken to the hospital, according to METRO.

The crash happened after 2 p.m. Monday on Main at St. Joseph Parkway.

At least 4 people were taken from the train on stretchers. The extent of the injuries and the cause of the crash are not known, but a spokesman for METRO says no one had life-threatening injuries.

http://www.myfoxhouston.com/dpp/traffic/100315-metro-bus-hits-light-rail-train

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I think its fairly obvious that CityKid and his "Our rail sucks more than Dallas/Atlanta because it isn't subway or elevated" brethren are paying off these underpaid Metro drivers to crash and sow seeds of doubt in the minds of the LRT faithful.

We're on to you Citykid.

Edited by Highway6
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Statement from Metro:

-------------

METRO is single-tracking rail service for northbound travel between the Downtown Transit Center and the UH-Downtown station. Patrons can board a train heading northbound via the Downtown Transit Center northbound platform.

Patrons can board a southbound train at the Downtown transit center southbound platform.

A bus bridge is in place for patrons traveling the stretch between the Downtown Transit Center and the UH-Downtown station. METRO buses are picking up patrons on Travis for northbound travel and Fannin for southbound travel.

Eighteen people have been transported to various area hospitals, reportedly with non-life threatening injuries resulting from an accident involving a METRORail train and METRO bus this afternoon at Main at St. Joseph.

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Its some kind of miracle that this keeps happening right in front of HQ.

not really, the number of buses that travel down st josephs and pierce is really high, I think it's a miracle more of these kind of things haven't happened more often.

to offer a rebuttal to citykid, I think this highlights the metro bus drivers inability to drive safely. I wish our buses had video on board like they do in other cities, I'd be a donut that the guy was texting, or reading a text.

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I think its fairly obvious that CityKid and his "Our rail sucks more than Dallas/Atlanta because it isn't subway or elevated" brethren are paying off these underpaid Metro drivers to crash and sow seeds of doubt in the minds of the LRT faithful.

We're on to you Citykid.

LOL! Thanks

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I wish our buses had video on board like they do in other cities, I'd be a donut that the guy was texting, or reading a text.

According to the news, this bus did have video -- it will be interesting to see what it shows....no mention of the bus driver running a red light this time, although I would guess that is what happened....

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Update: Passenger says bus had green light....this should be interesting...

Just heard this morning on Fox news that they are requesting a formal investigation that includes the lights. So this could be interesting if the timing/sequence of traffic lights could be playing some role.

Edited by JJVilla
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I've heard the bus did run a light that had been red for awhile. Pretty sure that bus last month was totaled, but hopefully this one will be alright. I haven't seen LRV 117 back in service yet; crappy timing to have two of them out of service what with the Rodeo and all.

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I've heard the bus did run a light that had been red for awhile. Pretty sure that bus last month was totaled, but hopefully this one will be alright. I haven't seen LRV 117 back in service yet; crappy timing to have two of them out of service what with the Rodeo and all.

If that's true, it'll throw a wrench in the whole system since the lights are SUPPOSED to change when the rail is crossing.

An additional measure that I think would be appropriate is 20mph for all buses and trucks over a certain size in downtown.

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Maybe they need some kind of sonar in the buses to alert them of the train.

Why not? The new Prius has radar guided cruise control...

I just want to know how Portland pulls it off. They even let cars use the same lane as the rail

Edited by Hartmann
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not that it matters, but why was the light red for the right lane that was next to the train?

.

A lot of intersections along the rail line now go "all red" for traffic when a train passes through. It was the solution to cars making illegal left turns in front of trains.

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A lot of intersections along the rail line now go "all red" for traffic when a train passes through. It was the solution to cars making illegal left turns in front of trains.

James beat me to it. Also, if you notice there is another light that looks like a vertical bar or a horizontal bar, those are the signals for the train, they don't use the red yellow green traffic lights.

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Yeah, regarding the vertical/horizontal bar signal, the one for the train underneath Pierce Elevated was recently changed to a red horizontal signal (rather than white) I assume because of the accidents. All the others I have seen remain white.

There are other red ones around, but even some signals that have been replaced are still white. I don't know if it's an experiment or what.

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Why not? The new Prius has radar guided cruise control...

I just want to know how Portland pulls it off. They even let cars use the same lane as the rail

It's been around for 20 years, vs 5 for us.

I'm sure when it opened that there were as many accidents as we have had, on a ratio of cars/sq mile. meaning, if they have 10 cars/sq mile, and we have 100, I'd expect us to have 10x the incident rate.

anyway, my point is, that in 15 years when rail is more abundant in houston, and people have become used to driving around with it, our accident rates will be down too.

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It's been around for 20 years, vs 5 for us.

I'm sure when it opened that there were as many accidents as we have had, on a ratio of cars/sq mile. meaning, if they have 10 cars/sq mile, and we have 100, I'd expect us to have 10x the incident rate.

anyway, my point is, that in 15 years when rail is more abundant in houston, and people have become used to driving around with it, our accident rates will be down too.

I've been wondering about all that; the newspaper has gotten so eratic in their reporting I can't make head nor tails of what's going on with Metro but based upon the snippets of news I hear on the T.V., I get the impression that Metro's construction schedule may be much delayed. They seem to be having some serious budget issues. I work in the Galleria area and have heard reports that the area merchants on Post Oak, (they featured the owner of Kenny & Ziggy's Deli) are mounting serious opposition, fearing they'll meet the same fate as so many DT merchants did during the construction phase.

As to the bus wreck; I have to drive down there quite a bit and can sympathize with the Driver to some extent. One of the problems I've noticed is that at some of the intersections, it's almost like a "blind" corner; they mentioned this a.m. that because this is the second crash at that corner that they're now looking into the issue of a tree limb obscuring the view of the lights/intersection.

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Blind corner? How does that explain cruising through straight through a red light that turned over ten seconds earlier? The tree limb is not obscuring the light.

It probably doesn't if that report is true and the cameras seen on t.v. would seem to so indicate; the deal is that if your making that split second decision and making a judgement by doing a left/right scan to see if you can make it through on a yellow, it can be difficult at some of the intersections because you have to be near into the intersection to actually see anything down the line of intersecting traffic. That's why I stop on yellows at a lot of those intersections. If that light was red for ten seconds, she must have been speeding or simply didn't see the light.

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Correct, she didn't see it. After the wreck she's heard asking her passengers, "Was that light green?" Watch the video a few posts up.

Oops; well, that sort of fits in with my rule of, "if you have to ask..........it wasn't". Then again, I've never timed the yellows on that line; I know they've shortened the yellows at the red light camera intersections, (I know because it's quite obvious); but I don't think this is a red light camera intersection.

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A driver lost focus and was not paying attention. We should expect more from MEtro drivers since they have more responsibility for lives, but still, who here hasn't had driving brain farts. I know I've noticed red lights late on the rare occasion and have had to slam on my breaks. It happens.

Still, these two accidents are an embarrassment for our system and are shifting me into the camp that thinks that more should be done to ensure these intersections are more idiot proof.

I cant believe I'm about to cite the wackos of the Chron comments section, but one guy suggested

We should put the signals center and overhead at all downtown rail intersections (since the majority of the lights are off to the side in downtown)

He also suggested putting up the kind of signal that has the red halo around the signal.

Neither of those are bad ideas. Short of railroad arms, maybe we should be making these intersections blazingly obvious.

Looking on google maps, this intersection does appear to have the strip of lights in the pavement. Those are a good things that should be included too. Hopefully this one was working.

A block away at Main and Pierce, the light is center and overhead. It has just as many buses that run by this rail intersection and so far its up 2 to 0.

And whatever the cost of changing a handful of signals is, I'm sure its tons cheaper than the two busses and rail cars that now have to be fixed.

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METRO rider claims crash broke his back

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- When a METRO bus crashed into the METRO light rail train on Monday, 19 people were hurt. Now one of them is telling Eyewitness News his injuries could be costly.

The passenger was riding the train on Monday afternoon after enjoying a trip to Hermann Park on his day off and enjoying the spring weather. Following the crash, he went to a local hospital where doctors diagnosed him with a fractured vertabrae. But without any health insurance, this construction worker is left wondering how he'll be able to pay his medical bills. METRO is protected by state law capping the amount he could receive in damages at $100,000.

An on-board camera on the METRO bus shows other cars stopped at the red light while the bus kept going. It was traveling 29 miles an hour when it hit the train. In fact, investigators believe the light was red for 10 seconds before the driver entered the intersection at Main and St. Joseph. The train had a vertical bar which means go.

This is the second train-bus collision in just over a month, and both at the same intersection. The bus driver has been suspended without pay until the investigation is complete.

http://abclocal.go.c...ocal&id=7335693

Edited by kylejack
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Well, she was in the left lane, so the light was directly in front of and above her hanging over the road. On top of that we have the embedded bump lights in the ground along Main Street.

And it wasn't enough.

Your attitude appears to be "It should be safe enough as is, so screw the idiots"

Moving the signals to overhead at rail intersections would make them more in your face. It's an easy fix. It's a cheap fix ( compared to fixing buses ).

Additionally... All of our signals have the ability to blink red. All of our intersections that involve rail have the ability to read when the train is coming.

With these two facts, why do we not have these intersections going overboard to warn when the trains are coming. Seems going from solid red to blinking red would be appropriate when a train is coming.

People run red lights. People can be oblivious drivers. I just no longer see why we shouldnt be going overboard with the lights at these intersections. It can't hurt. And if it saves a few idiots and prevents are buses and rail cars from getting screwed up, then its worth it.

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You said that because she was in the left lane, the light was centered for her....

That appeared to be in response to my post and therefore would imply you believe no signal location changes are needed.

So, do you believe the signals on the side are good enough, or do you think rail intersections could benefit from moving the signals front and center to help make them more obvious ?

Edited by Highway6
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You said that because she was in the left lane, the light was centered for her....

That appeared to be in response to my post and therefore would imply you believe no signal location changes are needed.

I did not say no changes are needed or desirable, I was just pointing out what an idiot or absent-minded person she is.

Edited by kylejack
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Could be that the bus driver got caught looking at the signals on all the blocks beyond Main St.

You see 20 green lights on the 20 blocks ahead of you, failing to realize that there is a red light on the street immediately in front of you. I've been guilty of it before (only catching myself at the last minute, slamming on my brakes before I hit a pedestrian) and my wife caused a wreck downtown a few years back by doing the same thing. It's not difficult to do, especially if you're otherwise mentally distracted (on your way to an important final exam at UH-D, or a stressful deposition at an attorney's office downtown, etc.)

I don't know the solution, other than "pay better attention." I will say, the embedded flashing red lights in the street are a great improvement.

Bottom line, it was the bus driver's fault...and short of adding crossing arms, I don't know how else this could have been prevented.

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Bottom line, it was the bus driver's fault...and short of adding crossing arms, I don't know how else this could have been prevented.

For years now, I've been advocating covering the buses and trains with several layers of marshmallows to soften the blow of impacts, but nobody listens.

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For years now, I've been advocating building either subway lines or elevated train lines for more efficient mobility and for safety, but nobody listens.

People listen. And you're not the only one to advocate this position. But not enough people think it's worth the money. Simple as that.

For example, the city I'm about to move to is getting its first light rail line. Two days ago the city council voted unanimously to put the light rail line underground in the downtown area because the members thought it would slow down buses. The cost: $2.007 billion for the entire project. This is a town of 100,000 people that doesn't mind investing in infrastructure.

At the time the rail line was built in Houston, it was a struggle to get what is there now. Considering the epic political battle, I'm surprised the line got built at all.

Back on topic:

Sorry I'm a couple of days late with this. It came in on Tuesday:

-------------------

post-1-12689192175101_thumb.jpg

METRO TO RELEASE VIDEO OF LIGHT-RAIL TRAIN/BUS ACCIDENT

Preliminary results of METRO’s investigation of Monday’s light-rail accident involving a METRO bus reveal the bus operator ran the red light.

The image on the left is a still shot captured from the bus’ front view security camera, clearly showing the red traffic light. METRO investigators say the light was red for about 10 seconds before the bus operator, Debra Harrison, entered the intersection. Two vehicles off to the right of the bus were stopped at the light long before Harrison passed the intersection.

Harrison has been with METRO for 10 years and is now suspended without pay, pending completion of the investigation. Harrison has been involved in five accidents since April 2007, four of which were deemed non-preventable (found not at fault) and one preventable. The latter was a minor accident.

Harrison was counseled for a speeding violation in November 2008 and reprimanded for turning right on red in November 2009 – not allowed in the downtown business district.

Issues have been raised with regards to the timing of the traffic signal lights at the intersection of the accident at Main and St. Joseph Parkway. Though no changes have been made to the timing of the traffic signals since March 2009, METRO will review all records to ensure there were no systemic glitches. The traffic signals were reviewed following the rail and bus accident on Feb. 8, 2010, and were determined to be working properly.

In its continuing investigation, METRO will determine what other safety measures it can implement at the intersection, as well as any augmentation to its training standards, to improve safety. METRO already has flashing red in-pavement lights at the intersection, and others along the corridor, to indicate the traffic signal has turned red.

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Additionally... All of our signals have the ability to blink red. All of our intersections that involve rail have the ability to read when the train is coming.

With these two facts, why do we not have these intersections going overboard to warn when the trains are coming. Seems going from solid red to blinking red would be appropriate when a train is coming.

I agree with you for the most part BUT... blinking red signals mean stop and go, essentially the same thing as a stop sign. I agree that there needs to be better indication of red lights for those of lower intelligence but we need to becareful not to confuse them with other already known signals.

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I agree with you for the most part BUT... blinking red signals mean stop and go, essentially the same thing as a stop sign. I agree that there needs to be better indication of red lights for those of lower intelligence but we need to becareful not to confuse them with other already known signals.

I know a town in New York where people have trouble obeying a particular red light. So when it turns red there's also a white strobe behind the red lens to grab your attention.

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People listen. And you're not the only one to advocate this position. But not enough people think it's worth the money. Simple as that.

For example, the city I'm about to move to is getting its first light rail line. Two days ago the city council voted unanimously to put the light rail line underground in the downtown area because the members thought it would slow down buses. The cost: $2.007 billion for the entire project. This is a town of 100,000 people that doesn't mind investing in infrastructure.

At the time the rail line was built in Houston, it was a struggle to get what is there now. Considering the epic political battle, I'm surprised the line got built at all.

What city are you moving to?

What you just said supports my argument all along. There is the complaint that offering anything better as far as rail is not affordable for Houston, but that's not true. The people have not wanted to spend the money. Yet they complain that their city is not taken serious or looked at the same as the Chicagos, NYCs,or the LAs, its because you don't take your own city serious enough.

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