Metro Planning Upgrade To 210 Freeway/Gold Line Barrier In Pasadena

Metro is upgrading the Jersey barriers that separate the Gold Line from 210 Freeway traffic. Photo by Metro
Metro is upgrading the Jersey barriers that separate the Gold Line from 210 Freeway traffic. Photo by Metro

For about six miles, in Pasadena and Arcadia, the Metro Gold Line operates on a right-of-way in the middle of the 210 Freeway. Now and then, cars and trucks crash through and over Jersey barrier separations and onto the Gold Line tracks. This has already resulted in major Metro service interruptions and costly repairs; it has the potential to kill or injure transit riders.

A quick search online reveals that Gold Line service was impacted by 210 Freeway car crashes in April 2018, January 2018, December 2016, and March 2016.

Metro CEO Phil Washington has expressed concern over these crashes and stressed the need for Metro to remedy the situation.

At this morning’s Construction Committee, Metro’s Chief Program Management Officer Richard Clarke revealed some initial information about what Metro has already done and what is planned – in response to the 210 Freeway crashes.

210 Freeway signage and crashes - from Metro staff report
210 Freeway signage and crashes – from Metro staff report

Metro has already worked with Caltrans to install new signage on the 210. Clarke’s report includes photos of new signage stating “trucks right 2 lanes only” and “trucks speed limit 55.”

Clarke announced that Metro’s “I-210 Barrier Replacement Project” is underway, but that construction is already flagged as a “possible problem” due to constraints imposed by Caltrans.

Nearly all of the limited project information available is in a staff presentation. The improved 210 Freeway barriers are anticipated to cost $11.08 million just to design, with designs expected to be complete by June 2019. The project includes new stronger barriers, plus an intrusion detection system.

Per Clarke, Caltrans is requesting “detailed traffic simulations” for temporarily shutting down a freeway traffic lane during construction, and this is “delaying the project.” Caltrans has signed off on the type of barrier, but wants them, wherever possible, confined to Metro’s right-of-way. Caltrans is also apparently requesting “mitigation measures” from Metro in order to “maintain […] the existing freeway non-standard features.”

Can Caltrans just get on board and let Metro build this critical safety project? The lives of transit riders may depend on it.

(Article updated 7/19 to reflect that $11M is just design cost)

SBLA coverage of San Gabriel Valley livability is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

  • Richard

    Caltrans, once again the enemy of all that is good.

  • LAifer

    F’ing Caltrans. State elected leadership needs to step up and tell Caltrans to get out of the way.

  • com63

    Wow, $11M just to design the barriers. Is that right? How much will it cost to build them?

  • A speed limit sign! That’s the ticket!

  • chairs missing

    I know right? I’m in the wrong line of work, hehe!

  • Jay Lee

    How about just better design such as not having heavy freeway junction traffic crossing within 2 miles of heavy onramp/offramp traffic? What would be the cost of having the junction feed to/from a ramp between the freeway and the already separated entrance/exit lanes? The EB 60 / NB 57 at Grand Ave. in Diamond Bar is similarly stupid and was twice recently reworked but kept the outdated and dangerous design (exiting traffic crosses 4 lanes to make a right turn), with no relief from the traffic jams plaguing it over the past 3 decades.

  • johnmcnary1

    Excellent points. It’s hard to understand who is the biggest guilty party here. How could this relatively-new installation be so substandard and unsafe? How could Metro have installed an unsafe train line? How could Caltrans have designed an unsafe median? What is the implication for the Green Line on the 105? What about those people standing in the middle of the 110 for the Silver Line? Are those barriers unsafe?

  • Bliss

    According to the PDF – the whole project is budged at $11.08 million, so I think there’s been some misinterpretation of the data – http://metro.legistar1.com/metro/attachments/5014079a-7b1a-4edb-8533-af615d70f934.pdf (page 15)

  • The Railroad was there first.

    Caltrans took the Right-of-way from the Santa Fe under the condition that the line was re-built, by Caltrans, as a complete replacement from Pasadena to Arcadia. I suspect these incursions have happened before, but no one paid attention since the line really only saw one passenger train a day.

    https://pin.it/qr5jnzmruiwv5l

  • LazyReader

    LA could have built this 50 years ago, suspended monorail completely bypass traffic, no chance of accidents or collisions, no pedestrian fatalities unless the train fell on you and rubber tired monorails make them as quiet as as a car
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/762685fcc23fc8ec52235befd6666e2723f10e8b96883aa6e1b96ea6966562d0.jpg

  • Joe Linton

    That’s a fun visual! (Though, for me, “as quiet as a car” doesn’t make any sense. Cars are so loud – especially for stations in the middle of highways – that they’re damaging transit rider health http://innovation.luskin.ucla.edu/sites/default/files/Noise%20Transit%20Platforms_0.pdf )

  • LazyReader

    Listen to any monorail at high speed….they’re very quiet. Because rubber on steel doesn’t make much sound. Steel wheels on steel rail makes lots of noise, they avoid this by going slow which is why light rail average speed is about 25 mph or less. Monorail is quieter even at 30 mph or higher.

  • LazyReader

    Listen to any monorail at high speed….they’re very quiet. Because
    rubber on steel doesn’t make much sound. Steel wheels on steel rail
    makes lots of noise, they avoid this by going slow which is why light
    rail average speed is about 25 mph or less. Monorail is quieter even at
    30 mph or higher. Disney monorail average speed is 40 mph on the long haul which doesn’t affect the park guests.
    Monorails biggest problem is capacity, Disney’s train is 203 feet long with six cars and only carry 360 passengers. For Los Angeles, they’ll have to adopt bus style seating or build bigger trains to accommodate more passengers. Another problem is switching is complicated unless planned, so monorails avoid this by operating in a continuous loop, with a train coming every so often. If they can move one train every five minutes, that’s 12 arrival times at the station every hour, with 360 passenger capacity that’s only 4,320 passengers per hour…..That’s far lower than most systems. HOWEVER the system in the picture above is dual…..with each train in the opposite direction; so that’s 8640 passengers per hour. Maybe advanced signal and digital progression they can get trains going every 2-3 minutes and get the rate up to 14,000. But still anything you can think of doing with trains you can accomplish with buses cheaper….

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