LOS ANGELES – A pedestrian was struck and critically injured by a Metro A (Blue) Line train Friday evening near the Slauson Station and taken to a trauma center. Over 100 pedestrians have died over the years after being hit by trains along the Blue Line.
The accident occurred around 7:05 p.m. near 1657 E. Slauson Ave., on the border of Los Angeles and the unincorporated Florence area, according to Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Nicholas Prange.
Trains were temporarily stopped so firefighters could remove the man from under the train, Prange said.
Accidents involving Metro trains hitting pedestrians could have been avoided, according to a member of the Expo Communities United who were trying to get Metro to build the Expo line to the standards where the federal government could fund it.
The federal government worked with Metro for 10 years and would have funded the line to the “benefit” standard. Primarily the line would have been fully grade separated. When rail crosses streets it is restricted by speed and frequency. Both of those factors affect ridership. Another benefit would have been that Crenshaw line trains could have traveled all the way downtown on the Expo line and Expo Line trains could have traveled to the Airport.
They explained, “…it is important to understand the context of the term “benefit” as it relates to the “life cycle cost-benefit analysis method” which is the standard for capital improvement projects…Metro never had the funding for the bus improvements described”.
Its important to note that funding plays a huge role in how rail lines are designed and constructed which has been to the detriment of minority communities, particularly in South LA.
“They [Metro] didn’t apply for the [matching] funds for the Crenshaw Line or the Wilshire Line either. It’s an 80% federal match. They would only have had to pay 20% but instead are paying the whole thing. Several billion dollars.”
The money came from the “forever” tax for transportation projects from ballot Measures M & R.
“The Crenshaw Line could have been up to an 80% federal match with local share a little over $2 billion. I think LA Metro never applied for the matching funds. The $250 million federal they used for that project was discretionary and transferred from other programs like the bus system. It was not New Starts money.”
“The New Starts Program is designed to incentivize proper planning, not a priority here in the Southland. Metro leaves future generations with substandard rail lines to deal with, and puts pedestrians at risk, more than 100 have been killed by the Blue Line alone, providing minimal or negative economic “benefit”. The benefit analysis which Metro rejects is the standard for any capital improvement project – water treatment plants, power plants, transit facilities, etc. Metro uses its capital projects budget as a big “pork barrel”.
Pork-barrel projects, which differ from earmarks, are added to the federal budget by members of the appropriation committees of the United States Congress. This allows the delivery of federal funds to the local district or state of the appropriation committee member, often accommodating major campaign contributors.
Another pork-barrel project appears to be the Inglewood Transit Connector (ITC) project where Metro and Inglewood have formed a joint powers authority to access millions of federal funding under the New Starts program for a fully elevated, 1.6-mile monorail system down the middle of the City.
The Inglewood city council has awarded millions of dollars in consulting contracts towards the ITC project despite the project not being fully funded. Inglewood taxpayers are footing the bill while awaiting reimbursement from Metro.
The Metro board is stacked with elected officials, from outside of South LA, which makes it easy to build less safe transit lines South of the 10.
City News Service contributed to this report