Why do we fight for grade separation?

Posted by Fix Expo Team

Recently Russ Quimby an internationally recognized expert in rail accident causation and investigations submitted testimony in the CPUC hearing regarding the two crossings closest to our South LA community schools: Farmdale Ave (10 feet from Dorsey HS) and Western Ave (50 feet from Foshay Learning Center).  

Here's an excerpt of his professional evaluation of the Farmdale Avenue crossing:
As proposed, the Farmdale Avenue crossing creates a high risk that students will be injured and killed because the proposed safety mitigation measures essentially put the burden on students to maintain their own safety. The proposed crossing also creates a higher risk of a catastrophic accident. [....]

By "catastrophic accident," I mean an accident involving fatalities and/or injuries to a large number of people. As proposed, the at-grade Farmdale Avenue crossing creates the notable risk that a catastrophic accident may well occur under one of several different scenarios.  For example:
First, that a train will collide with a vehicle with sufficient force to either derail the train into and/or push the vehicle into the proposed "holding pens" where several hundred students are trapped inside, killing or seriously injuring scores of students in a single accident.
Second, that a train will collide with a vehicle (particularly a truck or bus) rupturing and igniting a fuel tank which would engulf students in the holding pen in flaming diesel or gasoline.
Third, a combination of the above two scenarios where the students are crushed and burned simultaneously by vehicles and/or a derailed train.

You don't have to look far to see that just these types of accidents (car gets hit by train and train derails, and/or catches on fire).  In fact, you can look to the MTA's very own Gold Line, which the Expo Authority calls "safe":

When you think of the word "SAFE" is this the image that comes to mind?

That crumbled piece of metal that looks like a big potato chip bag is a former SUV that upon impact with the train caught on fire.

Video from the accident is below.

Led by the same project managers who told the communities around the Gold Line that it would be safe and that accidents like that would never happen, the MTA now tells us a train that crosses major streets like Crenshaw, Western, Normandie and Vermont without even basic crossing gates, and passes 10 feet of Dorsey HS is "safe."

We're being told this by the MTA - an agency that operates the Blue Line, which at over 821 accidents and 90 deaths is the deadliest light rail line in the country.

Today the number is up to 90 people DEAD and over 821 accidents.  
Does that sounds safe to you?

Here's the chaos at Farmdale/Exposition, where every day after school 700 kids in 15 mins (up to 108 per min) flood the tracks.  There's nothing like it anywhere on MTA light rail system:

MTA plan for this crossing is not grade separation, but instead, what they originally called a "holding pen," akin to that for a penal institution or for cattle:

The "protection" MTA proposes for OUR South LA kids at Dorsey HS every day for the next 100 years is a holding pen.

We fight because we don't want to prove Russ Quimby right.  We don't want that holding pen - we won't accept an at-grade crossing here.

Dozens of children have already been killed on the tracks of MTA's trains.  Children that successfully crossed the tracks thousands of times, but just one day at one time was caught in a bad circumstance.  They are gone now.

Tell the MTA, PUC and our elected officials to FIX EXPO, by giving South LA equal investment, equal treatment and the same safety as the end of Phase 1 from La Cienega to Robertson.  We don't want to have to bury any more children because of MTA's unsafe street-level crossings.