GLENDALE – Law enforcement officers from multiple agencies this morning cracked down on motorists and pedestrians violating rail safety laws at three of the most high-profile train crossings in the region. The targeted enforcement preceded a press event organized by Metrolink and local elected officials as part of Rail Safety Week and “Operation Clear Track,” the largest one-day simultaneous railroad safety enforcement effort repeated all across the nation.
Sheriff’s deputies, Glendale and Union Pacific police officers targeted three crossings along San Fernando Road at Doran, Branford and Sheldon avenues that have a history of at-risk behavior from pedestrians and motorists leading to dangerous incidents including two fatalities.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Captain Karl Schow reported that in a three-hour period between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., officers issued four citations with fines that could top $2,000.
Education rather than punishment was the purpose of the crackdown. Drivers and pedestrians, alike, must be careful around trains and rail crossings at all times. The average Metrolink train weighs 600 tons and can take a third of a mile to stop.
“Safety is a team effort,” said Glendale City Council member and Metrolink Board 2nd Vice-Chair Ara Najarian. “Metrolink will remain focused on safety, but we can’t do it alone. We need the public’s help in being safety-conscious around trains, tracks and crossings year-round.”
Najarian’s points were echoed by other elected officials.
“Glendale’s number one priority is the safety of our community,” said Glendale Mayor Vartan Gharpetian. “My colleagues and I are committed to working with our rail partners to continue the improvement of crossings and encourage safe behavior near tracks to reduce rail-related incidents.”
“Rail safety is really neighborhood safety and I applaud the national, state and local efforts that have focused on it,” said California State Senator Anthony J. Portantino. “Clearly we need more infrastructure resources made available to improve safety and I am hopeful that some of the SB1 and local transportation dollars can be targeted towards this need.”
Since 2011, there have been 82 broken gates and two fatalities at the Doran crossing, 40 broken gates and three vehicle strikes at the Branford crossing and 10 broken gates and one pedestrian strike at the Sheldon crossing.
For more information about Operation Lifesaver and safety tips, please visit www.oli.org.
For more information about Metrolink and rail safety, click here.
ABOUT METROLINK (www.metrolinktrains.com)
Metrolink is Southern California's regional commuter rail service in its 24th year of operation. Metrolink is governed by The Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), a joint powers authority made up of an 11-member board representing the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Metrolink operates seven routes through a six-county, 538 route-mile network. Metrolink’s passengers travel approximately 441 million miles each year, making Metrolink the second busiest public transportation provider in Southern California. Metrolink is the third largest commuter rail agency in the United States based on directional route miles and the eighth largest based on annual ridership.