Burbank's failure to implement two recommendations of a December 2003 National Transportation and Safety Board report reflected an unwillingness to pursue ways to prevent future accidents, Osborn argued.
The safety board's recommendations followed an investigation into a Jan. 6, 2003 crash that killed Van Nuys resident Jacek Wysocki, 63, at the same intersection in which Maureen Osborn, 76, of Glendale, was killed on Jan. 6, 2006.
The board concluded that ambiguous signage caused Wysocki's accident, and recommended that Burbank change the existing stoplight system in the intersection ? specifically, converting what are now flashing-red stoplights to solid red lights to keep motorists out of the path of oncoming trains, traffic engineer Ken Johnson said. The report also recommended installing a median between the Metrolink tracks and San Fernando.
But the city chose flashing red over solid red stoplights ? Caltrans regulations permit both methods ? because, historically, motorists have a tendency to get caught on the tracks, Johnson said. A solid red light would strand drivers in the middle of the tracks, he said.
"If people get stuck, they can't go anywhere," Johnson said.
And installing a median near the tracks would require street widening that would exceed the capacity of the intersection, Johnson said.
"If you put a median in you have to widen the east side of Buena Vista, which narrows the sidewalk down and also forces [large tractor-trailers] to make a large turn close to that sidewalk," he said. "We were just afraid that given the school kids [who use the sidewalk] that it would force large trucks to do things we didn't want them to do."