J’lem’s light rail suffers 1st accident

By MELANIE LIDMAN
February 9, 2011 04:44

Car runs red light at French Hill intersection hittinh train as it crossed even tough system not yet in service.

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Although not yet in service, Jerusalem’s light rail system was involved in its first accident Tuesday morning, when a car ran a red light at the French Hill intersection in the northeastern part of the city and struck the train as it was crossing.

There was light damage to both the car and the train, but no one was hurt. The driver was detained and later released.

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Jerusalem Police said there was nothing they could have done to avoid the accident.

“We can’t do anything about drivers who go through red lights,” said Jerusalem District Police spokesman Shmuel Ben- Ruby.

A spokesman for CityPass, which will be operating the light rail, echoed this sentiment, saying that drivers around the world have learned to coexist with such a system.

“That’s why there are traffic lights,” said spokesman Ozel Vatik. “People need to obey traffic signals. They had a red light, and the [train] driver had a green light. We can’t do anything about this – if they have a red light they need to stop.”

Barriers that go up and down are not feasible at busy intersections like that at French Hill.

Vatik said there was a good chance that there would be similar accidents in the coming months, but he hoped they could be avoided by educating the public to drive carefully and obey traffic signals.

“There were no injuries today, thank God, but we hope everyone will learn from this instance,” he said.

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