BE ALERT: Intensive light rail train testing underway along MLK Jr. South Way in Seattle

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A collision that occurred after a car made an illegal turn in front of a light rail train yesterday shows the importance of abiding by traffic signals and safety precautions as light rail testing expands up in advance of passenger service starting in July.

Sound Transit also reminds Rainier Valley motorists and pedestrians to be alert for new signals and signage along Martin Luther King Jr. Way South as the agency continues intensive light rail testing along the five miles of at-grade tracks.

Drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and others can expect to see the light rail vehicles on the track between Rainier Avenue and Boeing Access Road at any time. Sound Transit police are also working with local law enforcement agencies to increase enforcement of all traffic and pedestrian laws along the alignment.

Drivers and pedestrians should be alert and obey all traffic signs and signals; only cross the street at designated crosswalks or traffic signals. All of the locations where traffic or pedestrians can legally cross the light rail tracks are equipped with signals.

Sound Transit has mailed trains safety information to more than 65,000 residents and distributed safety education information to more than 10,000 students at 23 different schools in Southeast Seattle, Tukwila and Renton.

Sound Transit has translated safety information into 11 languages and distributed it within the diverse Rainier Valley communities. In addition, Sound Transit has run a series of safety education advertisements using billboards, gas stations, magazines and local and minority publications. This spring Sound Transit will continue its targeted safety education program aimed at students along the alignment with new materials and communications tools.

Thankfully, yesterday’s collision did not involve life-threatening injuries. The car was able to be driven from the scene, and the light rail vehicle sustained only minor damage.

Sound Transit reminds motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists to be alert and keep the following precautions in mind:

  • Only cross at designated crosswalks and signalized intersections. Obey all traffic signs and signals
  • Link trains are electric and very quiet. Whenever you are around trains or tracks, remember to watch for trains.
  • Always look both ways before crossing the tracks. Trains can travel in any direction, on any track, at any time. After a train passes, another train may be coming from the opposite direction.
  • Do not walk, stand, or park a vehicle on the tracks. Trains can arrive at any time.
  • Stay away from the track switches that are used to change train directions. These switches are very powerful and can move at any time without warning.
  • Trains may run at any time, day or night. Be alert and be safe.
  • Never race a train or try to beat it through an intersection.
  • When crossing the tracks on a bicycle, always cross the tracks at a 90-degree angle to prevent your bicycle tires from getting stuck in the tracks.

For more information on Link safety, see: www.soundtransit.org/linksafety