Shortly after 5pm today, a car traveling on Martin Luther King Jr. Way South made an illegal turn against a red light and was hit by a passing Link Light Rail train. The driver of the car sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to the hospital. We’re awaiting word about the train’s condition, but hopefully any damage was minor and it’ll be out looking beautiful on July 18th in just 18 days.
The best photos are available at the Rainier Valley Post.
This incident comes one day after we reported about John Niles’ suggestion that Sound Transit be liable for all car vs. train incidents, even in cases like this when the driver made an illegal turn.
[UPDATE: John Niles, in the thread below, points out that he never uses the word “liable,” and is instead using “chargeable” as a way of saying Sound Transit could have prevented it. There’s a strong tone implying negligence in the piece, however, so readers can be the judge. –Editor]
Despite who’s at fault, the city is looking for ways to make the area safer. Earlier today before this accident, KIRO posted a story about merchants who are opposed to the installation new barriers designed to prevent car/train collisions, claiming they would hurt business. According to the story, a few business owners are threatening to block the track on opening day in protest. Seattle Transit Blog would like to remind our readers that standing on any railway, regardless of political motivation, is a very bad idea, and that your chances of successfully stopping a 2-car train are very low.
Also tonight in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, home to many STBers, a family crossing the street was hit by a car. There aren’t a lot of details about this incident yet, but Capitol Hill Seattle reports that at least three people (two of them young children) were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, and Seattle Police arrested the driver at the scene. Hopefully everyone injured will recover quickly. To John: should these children be responsible for the driver’s legal fees? Or maybe the city for not grade separating all the crosswalks?