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Since the completion of the Expo Line's extension in 2016, the stretch of shared track that it shares with the Blue Line through Downtown Los Angeles has frequently been the site of service delays toward both Long Beach and Santa Monica.  While Metro may be years (and quite a bit of money) away from a permanent solution to its Flower Street woes - which could involve substantial grade separation - a short-term fix for one of the most problematic intersections has appeared on the horizon.

To limit collisions between light rail vehicles and private automobiles, a new crossing gate is being installed just north of the intersection of Flower and 18th Street.  When in operation, the gate will prevent illegal left turns in front of oncoming trains.

This at-grade crossing has proven to be one of the most problematic along Flower Street, largely because the left-turn lane provides access to an adjacent onramp for the eastbound Santa Monica Freeway.  Here are a handful of the collisions from the past three years:

Metro staff conducted a manual test of the new crossing gate last week, but have yet to put it into full-time service.

A train-auto collision at 18th and Flower from 2014. Photo by Jon Ross Alexander/Metro
The future crossing gate, which does not currently have its arm installed.

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