Don't permanently slow Metro
A driver slammed on his car's brakes on the Capital Beltway yesterday after coming too close for comfort to another car in front. The maneuver successfully avoided a collision. In response, AAA called for all drivers to travel no faster than 40 mph indefinitely.
Of course, this didn't happen, because it's silly. Drivers come a little too close for comfort all the time. Some of the time, they don't stop in time and collide. Occasionally, that causes injury and even death.
Crashes, injuries, and deaths are terrible, and we should try to minimize it with better road design, especially in areas with pedestrians and bicyclists as well as motor vehicles. But nobody is suggesting making all freeways 40 mph, even though it would drastically reduce fatalities, because it would also curtail mobility more than people are willing to accept. However, this is essentially what ATU Local 689 President Jackie Jeter suggested for Metro.
In a May 7th statement following last week's incident where an operator hit the emergency brake to avoid hitting another train, Jeter called for "Train speeds [to] not exceed 40 miles per hour until Metro has resolved the train circuit issues."
The train operators are understandably concerned that their train is going to come too close to another train, which puts them and the passengers in danger. Nobody wants trains to hit. But slowing all trains down considerably and indefinitely isn't the answer.
David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.
Washington Post editors
| May 11, 2010; 1:45 PM ET
Categories: D.C., HotTopic, Local blog network, transportation
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