GPW: Self-Tempered Anarchy since 2009

Your GPW Editor-on-Occasion is Petra Fried in the City.
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stories along The Way

Monday, November 30, 2009

Wanted: a CD 4 candidate who cares

I read the below this morning about a homeless woman killed at a dangerous railroad crossing near Glendale and about a certain councilman's dragging-of-the-feet to getting it fixed, and I wondered what Tom LaBonge would do if this crossing were just a teeny tiny bit closer to Griffith Park. Yes, it is all about money. But what if this incident somehow slightly inconvenienced LaBonge or one of his friends from their cherished morning hike? That railroad crossing would already be fixed as I type this!

Once again the inevitable conclusion is that we need a real representative in Council District Four, rather than the pretend "democrat" we have now. Honestly, have you ever seen such an elitest as LaBonge?  Don't LaBonge's actions basically scream antithesis of democrat?

Someone, anyone -  run against Tom LaBonge in 2011!  Stop the bourgeoisie bullcrap.

Railroad crossing safety call

Ara Najarian says Monday’s death at crossing means it’s time for it to be closed.

By Veronica Rocha       Published: Wednesday, November 25, 2009

GLENDALE — The death of a woman in her 60s who was struck and killed by an Amtrak train Monday has highlighted the need to make the city’s portion of the rail corridor safer, the Metropolitan Transit Authority chairman said. The woman was killed at the Doran Street and San Fernando Road railroad crossing, which Chairman Ara Najarian said has been a concern for years. “It’s a crossing that we feel is best closed rather than attempting to upgrade it because of the very short queuing space between the tracks and San Fernando Road,” said Najarian, who’s also a city councilman. The Metrolink board is working to close the Doran Street railroad crossing, which he said would be fenced off.

The woman was pushing a shopping cart and walked across the tracks about 11:30 a.m. Monday as the passenger train approached her, witnesses said. The engineer blew the horn several times, but the woman didn’t move. She stumbled on the tracks and was hit by the train.The woman’s identity has been withheld until her family is notified, said Ed Winter, assistant chief coroner for Los Angeles County. Coroners haven’t determined whether the woman was homeless, he said. The accident could not have been prevented, Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said. “It think it’s apparent in this particular case the pedestrian was not aware of her surroundings, even though all the equipment was working properly,” he said. A state-of-the-art quad gate also wouldn’t have prevented the accident, Najarian said. Most of Glendale’s railroad crossings are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, except for Broadway and Doran Street, which he said is the worst.“We wanted very much to get rid of [the crossing], but the problem is that we are getting some push-back from Tom LaBonge in the city of [Los Angeles] that does not want to stop the access at that point,” Najarian said.

Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge said he wants to work closely with Glendale to resolve issues in the southern portion of the San Fernando corridor. “It’s tragic that anyone is hit by a train,” he said. “Tragic for the person, their family, tragic for the operator of the train, tragic for anybody that witnessed it.” Officials have a plan to eliminate the Doran Street railroad crossing, but that’s still in the works, LaBonge said. “All of it is about money, too,” he said. “Railroad crossings are a very delicate thing because you can’t open up a street unless you close a street.”

The fatal accident will not cause city officials to add safety features or change the Doran Street railroad crossing, Mayor Frank Quintero said “That wouldn’t affect our decisions at all,” he said. “If it was an automotive or a trucking-type incident that might be a different story, but this particular case, not at all.” City Council officials haven’t taken actions to eliminate the railroad road crossing, which was part of a package to streamline the San Fernando corridor.

In May 2008, the City Council authorized an at-grade railroad crossing for an extension of Flower Street to San Fernando Road, which was estimated to cost $2.6-million. Other safety improvements were slated for rail crossings at Broadway and Chevy Chase Drive, which were paid for through a $2-million account controlled by Metrolink. The railroad crossing at Doran Street was scheduled to close as part of the rail corridor restructuring. The city of Los Angeles wants the railroad crossing to remain open because of the businesses near the rail corridor, he said. “It’s not just about us — we can’t just willy-nilly close it,” Quintero said. “You’ve got Los Angeles territory, the MTA, Amtrak and there is a federal commission. Overall, there is a trend to close these crossing across America . . .because things happen. Where this one will go is still up in the air.”