With BART on its way to Milpitas, Rail Safety is of the utmost importance.
In California, September is designated as Rail Safety Month. As such, during the last few weeks, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) has been spreading awareness and encouraging the public with tips to stay safe around their light rail system.
VTA representatives have been out in the community, passing out safety material at various light rail stations, spreading the word at schools, and keeping the topic in the public eye through blog posts and social media.
In early September, VTA performed an enforcement exercise in coordination with the Sheriff’s Transit Patrol in San Jose. Across three different intersections, over the course of one morning, they saw instances of red light violations and people wearing earbuds, as well as people standing near or blocking various parts of the track.
“As a result of that enforcement exercise, we issued about 16 citations and 25 warnings at three different intersections along our light rail system,” said VTA’s Public Information Officer Holly Perez.
Some tips that the VTA has been circulating to keep the public educated about Rail Safety:
Put down distractions, like earbuds.
Don’t text while walking near the light rail system.
Never attempt to outrun a train.
While waiting at a stop, always be mindful of standing behind the yellow line.
And most important of all:
Always look, listen, and pay attention.
“One of the things we’re really stressing is that safety is everyone’s job,” said Perez. “It’s not just the light rail operator. It’s the folks near and on our system. So we’re just encouraging everyone not just this month, but every day, to really practice ‘look, listen, and pay attention.’ The Bay Area has seen its share of real incidents. One fatality is way too many. Be careful and be safe.”
Back in June, the VTA discovered that 1,100 pieces of networking equipment built into the BART Extension Project were not in compliance with requirements, and they began the process of replacing and testing all of the parts.
When asked about any updates on BART and when it will officially open in Milpitas and San Jose, VTA’s Communications Director Bernice Alaniz wrote in an email, “The project has advanced from construction (just finishing touches left) to testing. Testing for the automatic train control and traction power is complete. Currently testing continues for Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) and communications. In early 2019 when testing moves to the next phase, VTA will be able to better predict when the both stations will open and when passenger service will begin.”