Re “1 Killed, 33 Hurt in Train Crash,” Jan. 7: I cross the intersection of Buena Vista Street and San Fernando Boulevard at least twice a week, and when I am driving southbound on Buena Vista, I think each time, “This is a train wreck waiting to happen.” The reason is that the signal for the southbound Buena Vista Street is on the far side of the railroad tracks. When the signal is red, the cars line up, some of them on top of the rails, even though there is a sign in the street saying “Keep Clear.”
If a train should come down the tracks at that time, there would be nowhere for the cars to go. They would be sitting ducks, unable to escape. From the description I just read in The Times, I gather this is not the way this wreck occurred. However, I believe that the people who designed this fairly new signal arrangement need to look at it and find a way to move the southbound signal, or add another signal on the north side of the tracks; otherwise there will be more wrecks there in the future.
I am really annoyed with the implication by many that the railroad crossing at Buena Vista Street and San Fernando Boulevard somehow contributed to the accident. I have lived in Burbank most of my life, and I live blocks from the intersection. Since changes were made it is very clear what a driver is to do. The problem is with careless drivers who ignore the clearly marked areas and stop in them anyway. And this particular accident, according to witnesses, had nothing to do with the intersection. It was caused by an arrogant and aggressive driver. And now he is dead, and numerous innocents hurt, all because he was in such a hurry.
Most of the injuries in train wrecks would be prevented if a few changes were made: (1) They should have electronic controls that automatically slow or stop a train when it comes to an amber or red light if the engineer doesn’t. (2) Double crossing arms should be placed on both sides of the street on both sides of the rails, and the arms on the left side should close a few seconds late so that cars won’t be caught between. (3) Passenger trains, both Metrolink and Amtrak, should always have the engine in the front. This would have prevented most of the injuries to the train’s passengers.