Houston transit agency still struggles with rail safety


Collisions remain a constant along Houston’s light rail tracks despite a monthslong effort to improve rail safety in the area.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority logged November as its second-worst month for train crashes in more than a year, with 15 crashes along the light rail. Transit officials plan to improve police traffic enforcement to keep car and truck drivers from turning into the train, the Houston Chronicle reported.

“Sixty percent of our accidents are illegal left turns along the rail corridor,” said Tom Lambert, Metro Transit Authority CEO. “We have not been aggressive in that — and we’re not here to bring in revenue — but we are going to start a very aggressive enforcement campaign.”

Some drivers said the Metro Transit Authority should turn its efforts internally instead of policing drivers.

“Why don’t they ticket their own (rail) drivers for blocking intersections or not blowing the horn?” said Salvadore Martin, who drives downtown daily.

Other drivers said Houston should have anticipated safety problems with a street-level rail system from the beginning.

“This is why you build a subway,” said Georgine McDonald, another driver in the area.

The Metro Transit Authority had spent months focusing on rail safety after a pair of high-profile train collisions occurred while Houston hosted the Super Bowl in February. Houston transit officials said more than a dozen safety-related projects will roll out in the coming months.

Plans include ground-level work, such as fence installation along the tracks to discourage trespassers and the addition of warning signs for cars and pedestrians about approaching trains.

Lambert said he’ll discuss a schedule of when the signs and other materials will be installed in January.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Explosive device with note found outside Beaumont Starbucks, police say
Explosive device with note found outside Beaumont Starbucks, police say

Police found an “explosive device” at a Starbucks in Beaumont early Thursday. “The device, believed to be a legitimate explosive device, was rendered safe by the FBI and ATF bomb technicians,” Beaumont police said in a statement.  As a result, Beaumont police are urging their community not to open or touch suspicious...
Austin City Council renames two streets named for Confederate leaders
Austin City Council renames two streets named for Confederate leaders

Robert E. Lee Road and Jeff Davis Avenue are no more after the Austin City Council on Thursday voted to remove the names of the Confederate leaders from the two Austin streets that bear their names. Instead the road that ambles along Barton Creek into the Zilker neighborhood will be named for Azie Taylor Morton, the country’s first and only black...
Onyeri guilty on all 17 counts in case tied to Judge Kocurek shooting
Onyeri guilty on all 17 counts in case tied to Judge Kocurek shooting

A federal jury returned guilty verdicts on all 17 counts against the Houston man accused of shooting Travis County state District Judge Julie Kocurek to preserve a white-collar criminal enterprise that swept up victims in Southeast Texas, Louisiana and Austin. The verdict that could send 30-year-old Chimene Onyeri to prison for the rest of his life...
City Council approves action plan to end homelessness
City Council approves action plan to end homelessness

The Austin City Council on Thursday approved an action plan aimed at ending homelessness after an annual census found a 5 percent rise in homelessness in Austin and Travis County compared with 2017. The action plan, which includes forming public-private partnerships, calls for $30 million a year to move toward a systematic community approach that can...
JUST IN: Austin firefighter charged with DWI, suspended for 60 days, memo says
JUST IN: Austin firefighter charged with DWI, suspended for 60 days, memo says

An Austin firefighter was suspended for 60 days after he was charged with DWI, according to a disciplinary memo. An Austin police officer pulled over Matt Harvey on Nov. 14, the memo says. He failed a field sobriety test and refused to provide a blood sample, the memo says. Police arrested him and obtained a search warrant for his blood, and those...
More Stories