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:
- The Source - June 2014 - Collision blocks southbound tracks
- Streetsblog LA - May 2015 - Driver races train (and loses)
- Jerry Liu Films - September 2016 - Accident blocks both sides of LA Metro Expo and Blue Lines
- The Source - December 2016 - Train auto incident causes delay
Metro staff conducted a manual test of the new crossing gate last week, but have yet to put it into full-time service.