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Metro Detours Md. Bus Route After Crash

Dear Dr. Gridlock:
Without any notice or hearings, Metro has suddenly rerouted the heavily traveled F4 bus through Riverdale. This no doubt is a knee-jerk reaction from the bus-train accident the other night.

This severs an intermodal connection between this East-West corridor and the MARC Camden Line, which must be increasingly relied upon by travelers and commuters as our communities and country face up the the futility of relying mainly on automobiles and the gridlock and oil dependency engendered by that ill-destined policy.

Even when the common sense Purple Line is finally operational, the F4 will remain a complementing service.

Service on the Camden Line needs to be expanded to all-day and weekend service anyway (with public funding assisting the privately-owned CSX freight line and no detrimental effects on their business).

Many people have moved to Riverdale Park to take advantage of near-town public transportation and the area is ripe for revitalization as a viable village with shops, entertainment and public conveniences.

CSX recently installed a high-tech, four quadrant crossing complex here, and there is absolutely no reason that buses cannot continue to operate through it using decades old safe crossing procedures any professional licensed driver should know.
The F4 will now apparently be rerouted to the often choked Route 410, further impairing this vital route.

If this decision is irreversible, stops should be placed on the Route 410 overpass to allow passengers to walk down to the MARC connection. Darned if the 1962 loss of our streetcars that served this very area continues to take its toll on the vitality and mobility of metropolitan Washington.
Jim Churchill

Metro says the detour is temporary, while it investigates the Thursday collision involving two Metrobuses and a MARC train at a Camden Line crossing in Riverdale.

The detour gets the buses away from the crossing, at Queensbury Road and Lafayette Avenue.

Westbound trips: They run their present routes to Riverdale Road and 49th Avenue, then turn right at Queensbury Road, turn left at Taylor Road, turn left at East-West Highway, turn left at Baltimore Avenue and back onto the regular route.

Eastbound trips: They run their present route to Queensbury Road and Baltimore Avenue, then turn left at Baltimore Avenue, a right onto East-West Highway, a right onto 49th Avenue, a left onto Riverdale Road and back onto the regular route.

"While we are in the early stages of our investigation, out of an abundance of concern for the safety for our customers, we have decided to temporarily change the route of the F4 to avoid the railroad crossing," Metro Deputy General Manager Gerald Francis said in a statement. "Over the next few weeks, we will monitor the performance of the route, and if it's successful, we will make this change permanent."

I think this move -- while disruptive -- makes sense, because of the nature of the accident: One Metrobus, with more than two dozen passengers, was delayed in crossing the tracks by a second Metrobus making a left turn. The railroad crossing gate hit the rear of the first bus and pinned it.

The MARC train struck the bus, causing it to spin and strike the driver's side mirror of the other bus. People on both buses had to be taken to hospitals, but no injuries were life-threatening.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 30, 2009; 3:35 PM ET
Categories:  Metro , transit  
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My question is why was the metro bus on the tracks at all? Shouldn't it have waited to cross the tracks until there was enough space on the other side of the tracks for the bus to occupy? It's just like you shouldn't enter an intersection unless you can get to the other side completely (and yes many people fail to do this and block the intersection). Unfortunately a train can't stop on a dime to prevent a collision.

Seems to me the bus driver was behaving very recklessly and put many people's lives in danger. Is this driver going to be fired?

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | March 30, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

4th paragraph - "pubic funding"?

Posted by: bnlight | March 31, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

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