Those of us who ride the metro every day are typically concerned for our own safety. With the opening of the new Metro Expo Line safety concerns have shifted towards vehicle and pedestrian traffic at the intersections of the new 7.9-mile route.
After opening in April, the Expo Line has raised concerns of safety at some of the more confusing intersections along the route. A USC professor who is also a safety expert has stated that three of the crossings have inadequate signs, specifically the one where several thousand young students will be crossing.
Laying down a straight-forward path in a crowded city like Los Angeles is no easy task. Engineers had to reserve to an “X” formation parallel street crossing at Rodeo Road and Exposition Boulevard, creating a potentially hazardous environment. According to the OC Register article “the combination of passenger rail, cars, bicyclists and pedestrians makes the intersection one of the most confusing and dangerous in Los Angeles County…”
Najmedin Meshkati – the USC professor, is appalled at the fact that the line was made operational seeing how the complexity of the intersection may lead to an accident sooner than later. “The intersection is complicated, and the design is awkward. All it would take is a dark, rainy evening and a driver unfamiliar with the intersection,” – Meshkati said.
Metro officials don’t see things that way. According to them, the line and the intersections are completely safe as long as everyone follows the signs like they’re supposed to.
Anyone who has ever designed a product for public use knows that you must make it idiot-proof. Whether every angle of potential hazards has been examined when building potentially hazardous intersections is questionable and will be determined later without a doubt. It will be interesting to see if the Metro Authority listens to the advice of a safety expert who holds a Ph.D. in industrial and systems engineering, or decides to get lazy and face potential personal injury lawsuits from injured victims of poor design.
Update: Two other safety experts are now agreeing with the USC professor that extra signs should be added for clarification of the confusing X intersection.