Follow-up on Houston
- Another forwarded article, with the conclusions of a panel of experts
that absolve it of design flaws (plus G. W. Bush's plans to veto a
Washington DC, USA
Begin forwarded message:
> From: MagNews <clew@...>[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> Date: March 9, 2004 1:45:49 PM EST
> To: UrbanMaglev@yahoogroups.com
> Subject: [UrbanMaglev] "Report: Rail design not at fault for rate of
> wrecks" HoustonChron 3/9 (LRT at-grade vs. ..)
> Reply-To: UrbanMaglev@yahoogroups.com
> ".. Experts at the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M
> University are expected to recommend some minor adjustments to signal
> timing and signage. .. The high number of collisions on the Main
> line attracted lots of discussion Monday morning at the annual
> legislative conference of the American Public Transportation
> Association, the organization that represents transit authorities
> across the United States. The discussion was sparked in part by a USA
> Today story published Monday on the line's troubles headlined,
> "Houston's crash course in light rail."� ..
> Report: Rail design not at fault for rate of wrecks
> By LUCAS WALL, Houston Chronicle - Mar 9
> WASHINGTON -- Houston's Main Street light rail line does not have any
> fundamental design flaws that would contribute to the high rate of
> collisions between trains and vehicles, concludes a report by an
> independent panel of transportation experts to be issued later this
> Metropolitan Transit Authority officials have reviewed part of the
> report's draft, scheduled to be released at a news conference
> Experts at the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University
> are expected to recommend some minor adjustments to signal timing and
> signage. Those suggestions will be in addition to changes Metro has
> already implemented during the month-long study, including using train
> horns only in emergencies.
> "We knew our system had no design flaws but it's always good to have
> someone else say it," Shirley DeLibero, Metro president and chief
> executive officer, said Monday at a transit conference here. "We are
> definitely going to look at their enhancements and implement them
> before increased service starts."
> Metro had planned on increasing train frequencies and adjusting bus
> routes to better tie into the new rail line starting Feb. 15, but
> postponed the changes until TTI's review was completed. There have
> 23 train/vehicle crashes in the past four months, a rate far exceeding
> that of any other new light rail line in the United States.
> Metro police cited 22 of the vehicle drivers for traffic infractions
> that caused the wrecks including illegal left and right turns, running
> red lights, and failing to yield the right of way when pulling out of
> driveway or intersection. Police blamed the other crash on a Union
> Pacific Railroad employee who bypassed a flashing crossing arm on the
> test track but are still reviewing what type of citation, if any,
> should be issued.
> Some rail critics have said running trains at street level is
> fundamentally unsafe and should be stopped.
> The high number of collisions on the Main Street line attracted lots
> discussion Monday morning at the annual legislative conference of the
> American Public Transportation Association, the organization that
> represents transit authorities across the United States. The
> was sparked in part by a USA Today story published Monday on the
> troubles headlined, "Houston's crash course in light rail."
> With Houston the latest city to begin a rail transit system, industry
> executives are closely watching the safety situation. Several cities
> have recently started construction of their first light rail lines or
> are in the design process, including Charlotte, N.C., Minneapolis, and
> Phoenix, Ariz.
> Metro also gained attention here Monday with a photo of its new train
> in The Washington Post, which accompanied a story about the status of
> the massive six-year transportation reauthorization bill stalled in
> Congress. That article didn't make reference to the Main Street line's
> safety problems but rather used it as an example of how rail transit
> lines are sprouting around the country, making mass-transit funding
> more appealing to a broader spectrum of House and Senate members.
> President Bush has threatened to veto the $318 billion highway and
> transit bill passed by the Senate, however, because of his concern it
> would expand the federal budget deficit. Bush wants to limit the
> six-year total, which would also fund dozens of Houston-area road
> projects, to $256 billion.
> DeLibero and other Metro executives, board members, and lobbyists are
> in the nation's capital this week to brief members of Congress and the
> Federal Transit Administration on the "Metro Solutions"
> transit-expansion plan, which voters approved in November. It calls
> adding 22 miles of light rail by 2012 at a cost of about $1 billion.
> Metro is counting on the federal government to come up with half that
> The message from Metro to Congress this week is clear, DeLibero said:
> Finish the six-year reauthorization bill promptly -- the previous
> legislation expired Sept. 30 and has been temporarily extended through
> April at existing funding levels -- and do not settle for any amount
> less than $318 billion.
> The more money in the pot, the greater chance Metro has at securing
> matching funds it needs. The prior bill authorized $218 billion.
> "Now that we've got the vote approved," DeLibero said in reference to
> the contentious November referendum, "I hope they really push to help
> us get those 22 miles complete in time, help us get the federal funds
> because we are going to need them."
> Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle
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