Another “Multi-Model” Fatality for Met Council’s LRT Line on Crowded City Streets

The Star Tribune reported yet another fatality, and suspension of normal service involving the Met Council’s light rail operated trains.

You may recall that we reported last month that the Met Council has the worst safety record among its peers in that nation. Adjunct fellow Kevin Terrell has gathered federal safety data and made a report to our members here (charts below):

This time the person killed with a bicyclist who collided with the Blue Line along Hiawatha at 42nd Street:

A male bicyclist was killed Tuesday evening when he was struck by a Blue Line train near the intersection of 42nd Street and Hiawatha in south Minneapolis, Metro Transit officials said.

A northbound train struck the cyclist. Officials did not know why he was crossing in front of the train at the time.

“It appears the arms were down and the bells were going off as the train was approaching … a warning sign that a train is coming,” said Howie Padilla, Metro Transit spokesman.

Metro Transit temporarily stopped train service due to the accident. Trains were not operating between 46th and 38th Streets but resumed later in the evening, Metro Transit said on Twitter.

To be fair, this report, if accurate, would point to error not by the Met Council LRT operator but by the deceased bicyclist. There was a woman killed in January when she was hit by a Green Line train on University. It is fair to wonder; how does one not see a train?

While one might conclude that the deceased were not exercising appropriate caution near these trains, and note the recent dramatic uptick in pedestrian deaths around the nation, we feel compelled to point out that these busy city thoroughfares were not designed for LRT or even BRT; they are old and crowded city streets intended for fast-moving cars.

The downtown streets of St. Paul and Minneapolis, where trains now run, are now confusing and crowded places, especially with all the new signage aimed at alerting car drivers to the presence of pedestrians, and special ramps for the blind.

Hiawatha and University before and after the addition of trains, are especially unfriendly to the “multi-model approach” pushed by the Met Council and MnDOT of pedestrians, bicycles, cars and trains all trying to use the same streets.

Is it any wonder people are getting hurt, killed?

You can read the Strib article here.

Featured photo by Mark Vancleave, Star Tribune