A 30-year-old woman was rushed to the hospital with critical injuries after being trapped under the light rail in the Rainier Valley neighborhood. According to local news outlets, the Seattle light rail accident took place in the 7100 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way S., prompting officials to close the northbound, eastbound, and westbound lanes at MLK and S. Othello Street.
Emergency crews from the Seattle Fire Department removed the victim from underneath the light rail following the accident. She had been trapped under the train at the Othello Station, but details regarding the factors that led to the accident were not readily available.
No other passengers or pedestrians were injured.
Seattle Light Rail Accidents Concern Safety Advocates
In a 2019 article, The Urbanist reported on the growing number of light rail accidents in the city of Seattle.
According to the publication, a light rail collision occurs every 40 days in the Rainier Valley alone.
Between 2009 and 2019, officials registered 92 collisions along Martin Luther King Jr. Way, with 69 of these collisions involving vehicles and at least 16 involving pedestrians. While most of the accidents are not the fault of light rail vehicle operators, the publication added, infrastructure problems play a role. Additionally, conflicting interactions with road users also make accidents more likely to happen.
At the time, changes were being implemented to light rail to help lower the number of pedestrian-involved accidents. However, safety advocates voiced their concerns, stating that more should have been done to improve overall system performance and help keep people safe. They suggested the addition of more barriers and fencing that force pedestrians to zigzag while crossing, as well as the installation of automatic gates at intersections.
While not perfect, these and other safety features might help to lower the number of light rail accidents in Seattle.
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