Police Chief: Don't Drive Around the Malfunctioning Guard Arms

As the Metropolitan Transportation Authority continues to work to fix the problems plaguing train crossings in South Pasadena, Police Chief Joe Payne warns residents not to drive around the guard arms.

As MTA authorities worked to fix the signal communications glitch at train crossings throughout South Pasadena, Police Chief Joe Payne reminded motorists Friday that it is illegal -- and dangerous-- to drive around the protective gates. 

A spike in malfunctioning guard arms at a handful of train crossings, where the arms are staying in a down position many minutes after the trains have rolled through, have frustrated motorists and caused many to whip illegal U-turns on the street or try to maneuver around the arms, Payne said. 

"As far as grade crossings, we never encourage going around the gates under any circumstances. Even during malfunctioning gates, the trains will continue to run. The train operators will slow considerably when the malfunction includes open gates, but any rail crossing is a danger when a train approaches malfunctioning gates,'' he said.

The malfunctions began en masse Thursday morning, occurred intermittently throughout the day, and started up again Friday morning. Intersections periodically affected include Mission and Meridian, Orange Grove, Indiana and Pasadena and Monterey, as well as El Centro and Glendon. And no sooner had MTA spokesman Dave Sotero given the all-clear sign that officials fixed the problem, than the arms remained stuck in a downward position.

"The problem was sourced to the Indiana Grade Crossing, which also affects the operation of crossing gates at other intersections in the area. Metro tested and replaced several components of the signal communication system at this location,'' Sotero said, just moments before South Pasadena Police needed to manage traffic control because arms again stuck in the downward position.

Patch readers tacking on lengthy detours to their trips, or forcing them to sit in their cars for extended periods of time. 

Patch Asks: Do these intermittent malfunctions frustrate you? 


Updated: Metro Gate Arms Functioning Again

MTA Signal Malfunctions Congest Traffic


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henk friezer January 05, 2013 at 07:16 PM
I concur with Chief Payne, I can not emphasize during my lengthy news career how many times I have had to cover tragic results from people attempting beat a train to save a few seconds and never making it across in time.. you are dealing with a train going at full speed that can not stop on a dime, it takes a lot of distance to bring it to a stop and those foolish enough to try and beat misjudge the distance and speed it is traveling ending with them losing it all. Thsoe crossing guards are there for a reason- to save lives. PS- during the recent gates breakdown I saw 3 train in succession (within minutes of each other going the same direction) so those that thought they were crossing safely because the train had already passed would have grossly miscalculated their safety.
Judith Trout January 05, 2013 at 10:37 PM
If the train is to continue going through So. Pas. the MTA must fix this problem. We the tax payers need to be able to cross town without waiting for a crossing arm, If they plan to run their trains every thing must go smoothly. When the tracks were being built someone should have made sure there was a couple of routes where the train went over or under the road. This town sshould not be at the mercy of the MTA.


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