New safety feature for Light Rail in the Rainier Valley

Oct 25, 2022, 2:16 PM | Updated: Oct 26, 2022, 9:25 am
The Link light rail has lifted property values in neighborhoods such as the Rainier Valley, but Spike O'Neill explains why it's now gentrifying the community. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Rainer Valley residents will hear louder train bells now that Sound Transit has listened to concerns over safety issues regarding collisions with cars and pedestrians.

The Link Light Rail 1 Line train bells can be heard as they make their way past crossings and into stations.

Upping the decibel level

“The bell has gone from 80 decibels to 90,” Sound Transit spokesperson John Gallagher told KIRO Newsradio. “Safety is Sound Transit’s top priority, and we are constantly examining ways to ensure our system is safe as possible.”

Gallagher went on to say that the increase in volume is a six-month pilot program. Sound Transit wants to hear from Rainer Valley commuters.

Responses needed for survey 

Gallagher encouraged people to tell Sound Transit about the bells and if they hear them or not. You can view the survey here.

Community feedback will determine whether or not the sound decibels will go down or remain the same.

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Gallagher said Rainer Valley was chosen for a specific reason. “That’s the area where the trains are really traveling at grade and pedestrians tend to interact with the trains more regularly. You are crossing the train tracks through the valley and the safety concerns are the highest.”

Train vs. cars are the most likely accidents 

He said that most collisions involve cars especially when they are making turns over the tracks. This is when they run into trains. “Fortunately, they [the crashes] don’t involve injuries but they disrupt service. Unfortunately there have been incidences where pedestrians have been struck by trains. We are hoping that increased bells will be another safety measure that will help alert people that a train is coming.”

Sound Transit reports there have been at least one collision with a driver or pedestrian every month since its inception in 2009.

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New safety feature for Light Rail in the Rainier Valley