Burbank crossing guard Lee Mahoney sits at her regular spot at San
Fernando Boulevard and Buena Vista Street, more worried than ever
about the children who cross the intersection every day.
Earlier in the week, she witnessed the fatal collision of a
flatbed truck and MetroLink commuter train at her intersection and
worries what would have happened if the crash had occurred an hour
earlier, when children were on their way to nearby George Washington
“It’s a dangerous corner,” Mahoney said.
The intersection is made more complicated by the proximity of on-
and offramps for the Golden State (5) Freeway and traffic from side
streets. Trains cross the intersection with four-way flashing
It’s the mix of rushing vehicles, speeding trains and pedestrians
that makes for a precarious situation, Mahoney said.
“They just want to get wherever they are going really fast,”
Mahoney said Thursday of the cars passing by. “There was almost
another car wreck here yesterday.”
Burbank Police said it appears Jacek Wysocki of Van Nuys was
trying to make a left turn in his flatbed truck from San Fernando
Boulevard onto Buena Vista Street at 9:30 a.m. Monday. Somehow, he
got caught between the downed crossing arms, and the train slammed
into his truck, Det. Paul Orlowski said. Wysocki, 63, was killed
instantly. More than 30 of the train’s passengers were injured when
two of its cars derailed after the collision.
Mahoney said she has had to tell children to get off the same
tracks, and has seen them playing on the crossing arms.
She said the pedestrian signals at the intersection change too
quickly for people to move through them safely. Washington Principal
Jane Clausen is thankful for crossing guards in the area.
“But over the long haul, we would prefer the children not have to
walk across railroad tracks,” Clausen said.
As part of a long-planned project to ease congestion, Caltrans
plans to build an overpass next year for trains.
At the Burbank MetroLink station at 201 N. Front St., Santa
Clarita resident Dan Gilbert, who was waiting Thursday afternoon for
the Antelope Valley Line, said he was in one of the MetroLink cars
when it derailed. He wasn’t worried about going through the crossing,
“You have accidents everywhere you go,” he said. “You got to get
wherever you are trying to go. There’s nothing you can do if it’s
your only means of getting there.”