Truck Crashes into Gold Line Tracks in Pasadena on Thanksgiving

Ten freeway crashes have damaged the Gold Line - four crashes in 2018 alone: January, April, October, and last week.

Screenshot of KTLA coverage of last Thursday's truck "accident" that damaged the Metro Gold Line
Screenshot of KTLA coverage of last Thursday's truck "accident" that damaged the Metro Gold Line
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On Thanksgiving morning, yet another 210 Freeway truck crashed into the Gold Line tracks in Pasadena. As reported at The Source, the 2 a.m. crash completely shut down that portion of the Gold Line until about 11 a.m. that morning. Due to crash damage to signal machinery, Gold Line trains are now running on an abbreviated schedule. According to Patch, repairs are expected to be completed in about two weeks.

Televised coverage at KTLA mentioned the Gold Line, but focused on the “accident” delaying cars. KTLA’s written article, however, doesn’t mention transit at all. The incident was also covered at the Pasadena Star News.

Perhaps Streetsblog should give the unlucky holiday news shift a break for omitting things, but similar to the October 15 crash, the press failed to note the decade-plus history of similar (and not infrequent) crashes on this stretch, Metro’s plan to fix the dangerous conditions, and Caltrans’ dragging of its heels on safety upgrades.

According to unpublished Metro records, last week’s crash brings the total to ten serious incidents damaging the Gold Line. In 2018 alone, four crashes have jumped this unsafe freeway barrier: in January, April, October, and last week.

Metro recently revised their project budget upwards. The I-210 Barrier Replacement Project is now forecast to cost $20 million, up from the earlier estimate of $11.08 million. Those figures pertain to just the design costs. Metro has split the project into two projects. Project 1 would be in Arcadia, east of Michillinda Avenue (an area where there have not been any crashes causing damage to the Gold Line – yet), where Metro expects that construction can proceed with no impact to freeway car traffic. Project 2 would be in Pasadena, west of Michillinda. For that stretch, Metro is undertaking costly detailed traffic simulations to quantify construction delays. The studies have been required by Caltrans, which is also insisting on “mitigation” for Metro’s project, likely driving up costs and delaying needed safety and reliability improvements for transit riders.

It is no “accident” that Gold Line riders are getting the shaft here. Caltrans is delaying Metro’s work to remedy this life-threatening situation.

Caltrans should be paying Metro to accelerate this project. Caltrans should mitigate the danger that their highway project is causing these rail passengers.

Due to these crashes, as well as major noise and pollution issues, it is imperative that Metro no longer site transit stations in the middle of freeways. This pertains directly to the Eastside Gold Line 60 Freeway alignment currently under consideration.

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