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Man Killed After Being Struck by Metro Gold Line Train in South Pasadena

The accident occurs on the crossing of Monterey Road and Pasadena Avenue.

Body of the victim wrapped in a sheet as police officers look on. (Photo credit: Henk Friezer)
Body of the victim wrapped in a sheet as police officers look on. (Photo credit: Henk Friezer)

By Henk Friezer and Ajay Singh

An eastbound Metro Gold Line train struck a man Saturday on the crossing of Monterey Road and Pasadena Avenue, evidently killing him on impact.

The incident occurred around 4:20 p.m., according to witnesses who claimed the man was homeless and appeared confused or disoriented before being hit by the train.

The train operator sounded his horn after seeing the man within a crosswalk that overlies the tracks, but the pedestrian, estimated to be in his late 30s or early 40s, didn’t move away in time, the Los Angeles Times reported Sgt. Sergio Flores of the Sheriff’s Department as saying.

A large number of homeless people take refuge in the wooded area near the railway tracks.

Ambulances and around 20 police cars, including from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, responded to the accident.

Former South Pasadena Councilmember David Margrave, a member of the city's Transportation Commission and a longtime critic of the intersection where the accident occurred, called the crossing "extremely confusing for motorists and pedestrians" and "very unsafe," according to the South Pasadena Review. "This was an example of that, in which a person had to needlessly lose his life.”

Diane Scoville, a retired elementary teacher and former journalist who lives in a condo next to the accident site, told South Pasadena Patch that her neighbors have expressed concern about the safety of the Monterey Road-Pasadena Avenue Metro Gold Line crossing because it is on the route to Arroyo Vista Elementary School.

Passengers on the train were transported further by buses, and the intersection reportedly reopened to traffic around 8:10 p.m.

No other details were immediately available.

Betty Jean January 05, 2014 at 01:29 AM
So there you go city hall and council! Great job! Some poor soul has lost his/her life. NOW will you DO SOMETHING about that intersection????? I've been b**ching about for 10 years! Do the right thing and SPEND THE MONEY to fix the intersection that YOU CAUSED so people can understand it! You laid down like dogs for Metro the first time don't do it again!!!!!!!!!
dan watson January 05, 2014 at 01:46 AM
What do you expect City Hall and the Council to do about it, Betty Jean? They have no authority to change the intersection. It's correct that this is a confusing intersection. When the intersection was designed, the Feds mandated that there could not be two crossing as there were before. Hence, the confusing layout. The only alternative was to underground the tracks which would cost millions. The city didn't have the funds and the MTA wouldn't pay for it. What happened today was a tragedy, but blaming it on the City of South Pasadena is misdirected.
alan seims January 05, 2014 at 11:05 AM
That intersection is the worst! Eastbound people think they have a green light when they don't. Southbound people in the #1 left turn lane routinely cut off drivers in the #2 lane to turn south onto Monterey. This intersection needs to be fixed! How many more accidents or deaths will it take?
Mieke Kramer January 05, 2014 at 12:56 PM
I think it is important to ask yourself what the reason was for the accident. The gates were down, the bells were ringing, and all lights, including the crosswalk light were red. There wasn't anything confusing about that. Then remind yourself what you are asking for: reopening the intersection to allow a double crossing. For years I have been listening to people complaining about this intersection. The signage is confusing and motorist cannot drive straight through the intersection at full speed like they were able to do before. In my opinion, the signage is perfectly clear. It is the changing of the street names that makes this a confusing intersection. Going westbound on Monterey, the street briefly becomes Pasadena ave until it hits the bridge where it becomes York. To stay on Monterey, this motorist would have to turn left instead of going straight. The same goes for people traveling eastbound on York. York suddenly becomes Pasadena avenue and in order to stay on Pasadena avenue the motorist would have to suddenly turn left. If they continue going straight they will find themselves on Monterey avenue, and if the go right, they also find themselves on Monterey avenue. Now that is confusing. Those that have been complaining about the intersection seem to advocate opening up the intersection and making it a double crossing. This is a much more dangerous option and precisely the reason why Metro opted to make it a single crossing instead.
Ron Rosen January 05, 2014 at 02:46 PM
It is not clear from the article, but there is a suggestion that the victim may have been impaired in some way, which may have played a big part in why he was on the tracks. But of course this doesn't stop everyone from jumping on their particular bandwagon with assumptions.
henk friezer January 05, 2014 at 03:02 PM
The underlying blame lies with the victim. It is easy to blame others for this tragic accident, but safeguards are in place and ultimately those crossing bear the responsibility to pay attention to the warnings, whether they be a pedestrian or drivers. Many times I've witnessed driver going around the barriers, or pedestrians running across trying to beat the train, like a deadly game of chicken. And we know who will end up losing! A few months ago (and several other times) I have seen youngsters walking on the tracks (like a balance beam) or skipping on the tracks, all within the fenced off areas beyond the crossings, proper education comes into play here. I also agree the crossing was designed very poorly by these so called traffic engineers, maybe it is time to get an independent architect to re-evaluate and update the intersection up to the proper standards that would improve safety and traffic flow.
henk friezer January 05, 2014 at 04:44 PM
one thing that should be noted here, there are two victims in this accident, the other being the train driver. He'll be traumatized for life.
Joanne Nuckols January 06, 2014 at 11:17 AM
It is unfortunate that a tragedy has to happen before we shine a light on this intersection. For those of us that were around back when the discussions/debates were raging about this intersection know that politics played a part in the decision, unfortunately, and the ultimate configuration was certainly not based on clear, sound engineering or safety principles. It's been ten years now and high time that the city council do a thorough review of the intersection and attempt to resolve any inefficiencies before we have longer, more frequent trains coming through once the extension of the Gold Line to Azusa, and beyond, is complete.
Betty Jean January 06, 2014 at 01:24 PM
" For those of us that were around back when the discussions/debates were raging about this intersection know that politics played a part in the decision." A big part and a certain few who pushed it through. I remember.
Dr. Bill Sherman January 06, 2014 at 05:49 PM
Betty Jean et al, I couldn’t agree with you more. The intersection is poorly designed and just plain dangerous. Even if the City of South Pasadena had Millions of dollars to spend on a reconstruction of this intersection they could not do it. The Goldline belongs to Metro and they won’t spend the money. There have been many discussions by former City Council Persons, Current City Council Persons, and members of the Freeway and Transportation Commission, but nothing ever gets done. The money and authority belongs to Metro. Betty Jean et al go to the next Metro Board meeting and voice your concern during the open comment period. The Board meetings are the third Thursday of the month at 9:00 am at Metro Headquarters- 1 Gateway Plaza. Take the Goldline and get off at Union Station.

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