Train crash rhetoric led by ‘weasel words’
Since the recent collision between the MetroLink train and a truck
at Buena Vista Street and San Fernando Road, I have read several
comments and letters in the Leader and elsewhere about how
“dangerous” that intersection is.
Excuse me? It’s only dangerous if drivers and pedestrians fail to
observe the signals, bells, gates and the hooting of the trains
They also apparently fail to use common sense, or decide that
their priorities come before the needs of the rest of the world.
Everybody has been moaning about the “poor truck driver” and his
family. I think it’s a shame that he had already passed on his genes;
that disqualifies him for the Darwin Award.
It is clear to me, and to everyone I’ve talked to, that the truck
driver either thought he could beat the train across the tracks, or
he was bent on committing “suicide by train” -- something that is
much more common than anyone will admit. Whichever, he had to make an
effort to get his truck in the position it was in when the train hit
it. I wouldn’t call that an “accident.”
Where is the concern for all the people on the train and on the
street who had to witness the awful event? What about the MetroLink
riders and crew who were injured?
I admit that a railroad overpass at that intersection will enhance
the flow of traffic, but calling it a safety measure is just another
example of today’s fondness for weasel words.
Intersection not as dangerous as implied
Several things should be considered concerning the recent accident
at the intersection of Buena Vista Street and San Fernando Road:
* If people would pay attention when they rebuilt the
intersection, they gave ample warning with the train gates and
* They put in extra space so people would not be inclined to try
and go to the tracks or beat the trains, yet we who live in this city
and use Buena Vista Street every day watch people ignore the signs
that state “keep this area clear.”
* Probably the most interesting thing I can bring up is the fact
that back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, all four crossing grades
were supposed to have been placed underground like the two on
Hollywood Way. But our fathers saw fit to forget Buena Vista Street
when they found Lockheed Corp. was going to leave our town. Had they
made the two on Buena Vista Street underground, not only would we
have not had this accident, we would have a lot less congestion at
the corner of the intersection.
* Thinking of all this hindsight, just think forward about two or
three years. We already had a mess of traffic on Victory Place from
San Fernando Road to Burbank Boulevard. One night two weeks before
Christmas, I was on Victory Place going toward Burbank Boulevard from
the shopping center. It took 38 minutes. With improvements like that,
I can hardly wait until the next city project.