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Watch for trains and new traffic rules along Edmonton’s Valley Line LRT


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It’s time for Edmontonians to start watching for trains along Valley Line’s southeast LRT route which is set to open later this summer.

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The city and TransEd have launched a safety campaign to help drivers, pedestrians and cyclists prepare. This means new signs, signals and rules in some places. Visits to schools, community centers and senior centers are part of the campaign.

Drivers will notice that right turns at red lights are not permitted at certain intersections along the road. Pedestrians will find new signals and sounds played at level crossings as well as yellow buffer strips on the ground. TransEd spokesman Dallas Lindskoog told reporters this week that sharing the road with trains is safe if everyone obeys the rules of the road, including new signals and signs.

“We want people to be very aware of their surroundings… and if you have a red light, or if you have a ‘do not proceed’ as a pedestrian, please obey that. This is for your safety,” he said.

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The reason for banning right turns on reds, Lindskoog explained, is to ensure drivers aren’t startled by a train in their blind spot. Drivers turning left into lanes should also be careful – it will only be safe to do so when the turn signal is green, he said.

Representatives from TransEd were in southeast Edmonton on Wednesday to report that the process of synchronizing trains with traffic lights was complete at three of 47 crossings. The remaining crossings are expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

This work coordinates signals for vehicles and other traffic with the rail system, giving priority to trains in some cases. Next, the company will move on to line-wide safety testing and certification before service begins.

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Low floor system

The Valley Line Southeast LRT line is a “low-floor” transit system with 26 trains. There are no crossing arms, gates or bells at intersections. Parts of the rail route run alongside other traffic tracks, which means people should expect to see trains wherever there are tracks.

“It’s important for the public to know that we’re running trains around the clock to support all of this testing and commissioning activity,” Lindskoog said. “It’s going to get very busy along the line.”

Asked if TransEd is concerned about people wandering past trains with more foot traffic and jaywalking in central Edmonton, Lindskoog said the entire rail system has been tested for security and mitigated risk.

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“Our drivers are aware that of course a person could cross the track crossing the track…we will stop the train, honk the horn, but the message we want to convey to the public is ‘don’t do this,'” a- he declared. said.

“It’s no different than crossing the road – it’s dangerous. Don’t cross the lane unless it’s a designated crosswalk.

Trains run slower in the center – around 30 km/h – and stop more frequently so they can’t pick up as much speed, he explained

“This is one of the areas where our drivers are going to be ultra-aware of their surroundings. The ability to stop quickly is increased due to the slower speed,” Lindskoog said. “Yes, it is a risk, but our drivers are trained to be able to mitigate this risk.”

Lindskoog is also warning people to stay off tracks and overhead lines that are still live.

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lboothby@postmedia.com

@laurby

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