There will be few stories bigger in the next couple of week’s than Capital Metro’s MetroRail finally opening on March 22. The addition of a rail line brings the promise of changing the face of Austin transportation forever.
But it also brings risks. Historically, additional of rail to roadways brings an increase in car wrecks. This is particularly true in the first few months following the opening of the rail as commuters get used to stopping at the train tracks for the trains. But those risks will continue. Yesterday’s Houston collision between a Houston Metro bus and one of Houston’s light rail trains is a sobering reminder of just how tragic these collisions may be.
So as you’re driving the streets the next few weeks, be mindful of the new rail system. You might consider these tips (from Capital Metro and sent home to AISD students):
- Remember that the trains are traveling as fast as a car and are quiet.
- NEVER stop a car on the train tracks.
- Stay alert and pay attention around train tracks; any time is train time.
- Trains can’t swerve; they have to stay on the tracks so keep your cars off the tracks.
- It can take up to 600 feet (two football fields) to stop a commuter train like MetroRail.
- Never walk on tracks.
- Always expect a train at any time, in either direction, on any track, and always watch for a second train.
- LOOK, LISTEN, & LIVE.
The Austin news stations have been doing a good job of following the start of the rail and the new dangers we might face. A couple of my favorite stories are below:
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