GLENDALE — With its proximity to a propane company and trains traveling at high speeds, the Doran Street railroad crossing carries the most potential risk for disaster, officials said Thursday.
It was because of that distinction that Metrolink officials brought “Operation Lifesaver” to Glendale to educate motorists on railroad safety, said Fred Jackson, the agency’s safety and training manager.
During the operation, Glendale police and railroad authorities cited 28 motorists for stopping on a railroad crossing and two pedestrians on suspicion of trespassing because they were walking on rail property, police said.
Officers were stationed along the San Fernando corridor’s six railroad crossings in Glendale, looking for pedestrian and vehicle violations.
“Remember, when those gates activate, you have 30 seconds to make a decision,” said Steve Smith, an “Operation Lifesaver” liaison with Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies assigned to the Metrolink patrol. “The best decision is the safe decision by not being on the tracks to start with.”
“Operation Lifesaver” members also spoke with business owners within the corridor about railroad safety.
“You do the education part first; you consider the engineering pieces, which is to close crossings or to actually improve the crossing itself, and then the enforcement piece,” Jackson said.
Metrolink brings the program to cities that have had high numbers of near-hits in the past two years, he said. And the Broadway/Brazil and Doran crossings fit the bill, Jackson added.
“The leading indicators and data shows us that the near-hits and the activity along this corridor — around Brazil, Broadway and Doran — is that those crossings are problematic crossings,” he said.
Burbank’s Buena Vista Street crossing was among the rail authority’s top 25 crossings to watch, Jackson said.
Flower Street, he said, has become Metrolink’s standard for state-of-the-art at-grade rail crossings, and will be used as a model for new installations throughout the region.
“Metrolink inherited this system, so what we are trying to do now is make it safe,” he added.
California leads in railroad trespassing fatalities in the nation, said Jesus Ojeda, Metrolink’s security manager.
Most trespassing-related fatalities occur when the pedestrian walks on the tracks with headphones on and doesn’t hear a train approaching, he said.