The Two Gold Lines. Yeah this totally looks fair…


South Pasadena Gold Line Mission Station 03
In South Pasadena even the sidewalks are protected with barriers.
I won’t let this go until the side of town I live on is treated with the same concern that people in South Pasadena are treated with. I am willing to burn these videos onto CDs and give them to people who want them for free, if they would like to use these to explain to Metro what they want at the upcoming February 11 meeting on the safety issues for the Gold Line. Cheap reflectors, paint and tours aren’t enough!!! Cheap reflectors, paint and tours will not make us shut-up about this.
-Browne Molyneux
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About Browne Molyneux

My name is Browne Molyneux. I'm a lady. I'm a radical feminist. I'm black. I'm an Angeleno. I'm an artist. I'm carFREE. I'm a freelance writer. I'm a blogger. I'm a philosopher. I'm a humanist. I'm a journalist. I formerly wrote a column on transportation, Tracks for LA City Beat. The above are all of the things I have to work on being, got questions email me. browne@shametrainla.com My topics of interests include but are not limited to politics, transportation, dark green issues, economics, race relations, feminism, culture, working class urban life, media, art, Los Angeles and literature.

24 thoughts on “The Two Gold Lines. Yeah this totally looks fair…

  1. Quite a stark contrast in concern for the public’s safety and time. The traffic at the Indiana St intersection waits for ten f”””ing minutes to get through that psychosection.
    Thanks for the great video’s Browne

  2. Well, according to the comments made in defense of these safety standards (or lack thereof), people should be smart enough to not get hit by trains, right? So, it must mean that people in South Pasadena need the barriers because they’re extra stupid. 🙂 I say, take S. Pasadena’s barriers down. Stop treating them like morons. They should be insulted by the barriers! Where’s their outrage at being so blatantly condescended to?

  3. I understand that Metro is having budget issues, but they are NOT going to balance their budget on the Eastside. That’s where I live and I will take every opportunity to embarrass Metro if they don’t fix this. And they care. They hired bloggers, got a Facebook account and a Twitter account and started talking about how the food on the Eastside is so freakin’ great, like that makes up for that bs that they put in MY neighborhood.

    Don’t care about the budget crisis. I’m taking what I learned from Los Feliz and bringing it to the Eastside.

    I will shame Metro across the Internet. I will email people across the state, in other countries I will do whatever I need to do to make my point.

    They have the money to fix it and they are going to use that money to fix it.

    Browne

  4. Agreed, Browne. Any efforts to put pressure on politicians facing reelection, who have the power to get the barriers up?

  5. The politicians are fine, but you know I’d like to focus on the people who built this and put their names out there and ask them to push the people who paid them to add safety measures. I’d like to shame private business. Politicians are middle men distractions to business people.

    Politicians didn’t do this rich business people did this. Politicians are like cops, they enforce the laws that the rich people want, not that cops and politicians aren’t vile, but we’ve all played this game before and I think we should come up with a new game plan. And this isn’t just in this case this is in general.

    The people who built this want us to talk to the politicians and talking to them are important, but the politicians are pawns in this chess game.

    I want to talk to the knights, the kings, the queens, the ones who the politicians are protecting. The ones that don’t want their name in the paper. The ones that don’t smile for photos.

    Browne

  6. Good lookin out Browne, damn good points. I dont see what rationale will enable anyone to call you some “overvictimized whiner” when the cold hard truth is undeniable.

    Just to add more context to this obvious discreprency:

    -Southpas has a population density of less than 7,000 people per square mile, and this portion of mission has rather light traffic at around 15k vehicle crossing a day. Southpas also has a much lower pedestrian and bike rider count than urban barrios. Monterey Road is even worse, as it is basically empty of pedestrians yet also has all the safety features of mission crossing.

    East LA in the area of the pics/video has a population density of over 24,000 people per square mile, and the 2 E/W roads the alignment crosses have over 30,000 vehicle crossings per day. This area also is home to some of the highest pedestrian/bike traffic counts in the country, as well as the highest ped traffic related death rates inthe country as well.

    I wrote the MTA at least 4 letters about this between the scoping meetings I attended in 2002-3, and made at least a half dozen calls to multiple staff. Not one response beyond arrogant dismissal, as if I was some autistic schizophrenic who likes to draw lines on maps and found the MTA phone # at a bus stop.
    Not to mention the 3 meetings I attended, noted and wrote down this issue on a comment card (that says you will recieve a response) and never was responded to.

    I noted thie obvious issues here, and provided several pretty easy fixes top partially mitigate the problem without completely grade seperating this portion until 3rd street(because I assumed the MTA wouldnt, they only find that kind of money for extra stations for USC and elevated structures in culver city).

    Mainly the greenish brick building on the right hand side of the Eastlos video. They couldve avoided even dealing with this hairy intersection by making the alignment curve southeastwards before that building, so that the trains run behind that building and cross indiana a couple dozen yeards south of the intersection in a gated more safe crossing.

  7. “This area also is home to some of the highest pedestrian/bike traffic counts in the country, as well as the highest ped traffic related death rates inthe country as well.”

    This should be more than enough to justify closing some streets to cars and making them bicycle/ped only. That would probably be way more beneficial than asking for crossing gates on a little street-running light rail line, which will probably not happen if the impacts to drivers are taken into account.

    Anyway, there are differences between the two Gold Line line segments beside safety features that are being neglected here.

    The Gold Line to Pasadena is much faster than the Gold Line to East LA. Rail planners were able to take advantage of a rail right of way formally owned by Santa Fe that was constructed a long time ago.

    The Gold Line to Pasadena has a top speed of 55 MPH and an average speed of 28 MPH.

    Unfortunately, the Gold Line to East LA did not have the opportunity to take advantage of an existing right of way and was placed in the center of the street for most of its route. The top speed in these sections is 35 MPH and the entire Eastside route has an average speed of around 14 MPH, slightly higher than a bus.

    As such, there is less of a need for protection. Any accidents that do happen are likely to be less severe. Train operators are more likely to be able to stop the train if someone walks into its path than on the Gold Line to Pasadena.

    There will be accidents and there have been accidents. But it’s no different than what’s going on in other cities, for example. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CV2rdGX4JYc

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWAbtkd3CMs

    It was probably a bad idea to build street-running light rail to the Eastside. The alignment is all fucked up as far as ridership is concerned and is slow as hell anyway. A subway was also unlikely. Building a semi-exclusive ROW would have involved eminent domain which I imagine would have been out of the question.

    But the differences between the Gold Line through Pasadena and on the Eastside are completely fair because they are two different types of alignments with two different standards.

  8. Spokker wrote:

    The top speed in these sections is 35 MPH and the entire Eastside route has an average speed of around 14 MPH, slightly higher than a bus.

    As such, there is less of a need for protection. Any accidents that do happen are likely to be less severe.

    …………….

    It’s actually the MTA’s responsibility to prevent “less severe” accidents, too. You may not think it’s severe, but the 80 year old guy with the broken hip will. So will his family.

  9. Spokker,
    those are good points, but must be applied in a fine grain manner to make better sense on a ground level.

    It would be great to have ped only streets in eastlos, if the community and its residents werent living in a car centric city where much of ela was retrofitted for cars and commercial amenities spread out in a manner unsuitable for walking or biking. Despite the higher ped/bike counts, the majority of eastlos drives, and doing such a thing on a busy throughfare like Indiana would make a lot more angelinos miserable than accomodated. Im gonna take that comment as more of playing the devil’s advocate, becuase you and I both know what is realistic in terms of street design in this area.

    In terms of the goldline having its own ROW:
    -the segment noted here, at the Mission crossing, is at a station where the trains slow down considerably and do so for several hundred yards before and after the station for crossings.
    -despite much of the esgl ROW being in the middle of the road, there are still abnormal circumstances that basically make it a seperate alignment; mainly at the indiana area where the train is in its own seperated ROW on the east sideof indiana (much like the goldline just east of monterey) and when it runs down 3rd between eastern and downey where it goes in s shallow trench to mitigate the hill. These portions are much more like a seperated train ROW than street running, yet still no gates (and the train does zoom along the 3rd-eastern portion)
    -part of the reason the train goes slow is exactly because there are no corssing gates, so adding these features not only increases safety, not only reduces MTA liability, but also helps increase the speed of the train effectively.

    Also, there are other communities that have adapted/exist with at-grade rail quite easilly, but they are NOT east LA. They do not have the same ridiculously high ped fatality rate, have not been exisitng without rail for over half a century, have not been retrofitted to become a conduit for millions of cars daily and have not had the severe reduction of pedestrian enviornment that East LA has. i know people want to chop that up as being nanny state or not giving easlos residents their due respect, but the truth is the truth! The area has these high fatality issues for a reason. Quite frankly Id guess that most folks who get hit by the train wont be doing their due diligence in terms of acting safe around the tracks, but that wont stop a lawsuit or the train being shut down for an accident. In the real world of litigation you want to ensure that suits are the least possible, meaning adding as many safety features as warranted or affordable. Im sure people will get less banged up with the esgl running slower, but still, isnt the goal to try and avoid collisions period?

    And although I agree that a semi exclusive ROW is different than a lrt line running partially down a median, I still think this is a fair comparison. The difference in where the train is pretty miniscule, and somewhat irrelevant when the densities and corridor loads these 2 locations are provided to give it context. I think the ground level facts of both communities more than make up for the differing safety demands the CPUC puts on at-grade LRT versus its own right of way.

  10. “Im sure people will get less banged up with the esgl running slower, but still, isnt the goal to try and avoid collisions period?”

    Sure, an effort should be made, but how much effort is too much effort? I don’t think the marginal benefits of increased safety features on the Eastside Gold Line will be enough to justify their installation. The same goes for South Pasadena. I think those pedestrian gates are overkill.

    It largely involves both a value judgment and a leap of faith. Essentially, what is the accident rate with the safety features and what is the accident rate without them. I don’t believe the accident rate will be much different if the only thing we are talking about is gates, signs and reflectors. Want to prevent all accidents? Go underground or above ground, but there are also major issues with those ideas as well.

    Safety at any cost is not smart safety.

  11. “Im gonna take that comment as more of playing the devil’s advocate, becuase you and I both know what is realistic in terms of street design in this area.”

    You should talk to ubrayj about taking away lanes for bikes and peds. He and I have butted heads before, but we both agree that there is room for ped and bike only streets in Los Angeles. I like when he confronts Damien Goodmon when he starts harping about how Expo will inconvenience drivers. Don’t inconvenience drivers, whatever you do! Haha.

    So what if the majority of people drive? The majority of streets will still be dedicated to cars, but we can make strategic streets ped and bike-only to foster more livable communities. I think that is way more beneficial than harping about stupid South Pasadena and their dumb pedestrian gates for the idiots who live over there.

    By the way, who says you can’t redesign the streets? Put some people and stimulus dollars to work making the Eastside more pedestrian and bike friendly, because we know people are walking and biking over there. And I think it will have a large impact on safety.

  12. Spokker
    January 27th, 2010 | 4:47 pm

    Safety at any cost is not smart safety.

    ……………

    Bullshit!

  13. or they could have built it the way they do it in chicago or new york built the train on elevated tracks. which honestly, i wonder why they dont consider it more in Los Angeles. everyone complains about the safety of a street level train, but the cost of building underground trains is prohibitive.

  14. “i wonder why they dont consider it more in Los Angeles.”

    Even though an elevated train on the Eastside would be far safer than an at-grade train, an elevated option would have likely been opposed on many fronts.

    Those elevated tracks are associated with blight, crime and graffiti, but I don’t know how deserving that stereotype is.

    “80 year old guy with a cane who crosses Indiana street every day”

    So how do 80 year old men with canes deal with automobile intersections every day? Wouldn’t it be better to close or calm strategically chosen streets to make them more pedestrian friendly?

  15. i dont know what claims of crime and graffiti can be levied at an elevated train that can not be levied at a subway. as for blight i’ll concede there not as pleasant looking as a subway or at-grade. but unlike at-grade, u can still preserve street lanes. And i bet its less expensive that subway.

    on a side note since its the example of safety used in the article above an comments on todays accident at the mission crossing of the goldline.
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/01/metro-gold-line-strikes-car-stuck-on-tracks-in-pasadena-.html

  16. spokker
    January 29th, 2010 | 6:06 pm

    So how do 80 year old men with canes deal with automobile intersections every day? Wouldn’t it be better to close or calm strategically chosen streets to make them more pedestrian friendly?

    ………………….

    Bullshit!

  17. Main problem here is one is in S.pas… the other LA. I understand what your point is and I agree. That said they are two unique cities with two unique budgets and two unique city councils. Pasadena is just and easy to run city therefor a better run city. We need to get on our elected officials here in LA. We all know they are not doing a good enough job.

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