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After Crashes, Red-Light Cameras to Be Installed at 12 Orange Line Crossings

December 15, 2005|Caitlin Liu | Times Staff Writer

A day after the seventh Orange Line crash in seven weeks, transportation officials vowed Wednesday to install red-light cameras at 12 of the busway's 36 crossings over the next six months.

But the list of selected crossings in the San Fernando Valley did not include Kester Avenue in Van Nuys, where two of the seven crashes -- including the most recent one -- occurred.

Bus drivers saw more red-light-running motorists -- and experienced more near-misses -- at other crossings, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said.

"It could just be a coincidence [at Kester] rather than a definite problem," said Sean Skehan, principal transportation engineer at the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

At a city transportation committee meeting Wednesday, Los Angeles Police Department officials said detectives -- who investigate only Orange Line accidents that result in injuries -- had looked into six crashes and found motorists at fault in each of them.

In each case, they said, the motorist either ran a red light or turned illegally when the light was red.

Most of the drivers were older, said Cmdr. Valentino Paniccia of the LAPD's Valley Bureau. Of the six injury crashes, he said, five involved motorists ranging in age from 59 to 78, and one involved a 36-year-old.

Most injuries in Orange Line crashes have been minor.

Paniccia praised the 14-mile busway, which opened Oct. 29, for having what he deemed as relatively few accidents. Last year, the Valley had about 27,000 traffic accidents resulting in injuries, he said. Metro buses were involved in 4,000 traffic accidents over the same period, according to the MTA.

"The Orange Line is a lot safer than driving the Valley in a car," Paniccia said. "The Orange Line is ... safer than the rest of the MTA."

The busway crossings at which the MTA intends to install red-light cameras are: Burbank Boulevard and Fulton Avenue; Woodman Avenue and Oxnard Street; Woodley Avenue; Balboa Boulevard; White Oak Avenue; Lindley Avenue; Reseda Boulevard; and Wilbur, Tampa, Corbin, Mason and De Soto avenues.

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