A Minneapolis man has died after being struck by a Blue Line light-rail train Sunday night in Minneapolis.
Metro Transit officers responded to a call just before 6 p.m. of a man in an electric wheelchair who had been hit on the tracks by a northbound train near E. 32nd Street. The man was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, where he died about three hours later. The pedestrain was not alone when he crossed the tracks.
All warning devices were operational at the time of the accident, said Howie Padilla, Metro Transit spokesman. Buses replaced light-rail trains between the Franklin Avenue and 46th Street stations in south Minneapolis for a time Sunday night.
Padilla said that the investigation will look into whether the man’s wheelchair played a role in his inability to cross the tracks.
The Blue Line station is located near about seven group homes for individuals with disabilities.
Heather Carstensen, 42, resides in one of the group homes near the Blue Line station where the man was hit. She said she sometimes has difficulty crossing the tracks on her electric wheelchair.
“Especially when there is fresh snow,” she said.
Metro Transit was planning to inspect its signaling equipment and review safety procedures in the wake of a series of recent crashes on local light-rail lines that have killed two people and injured three others.
The agency, which provides bus and train transportation throughout much of the Twin Cities area, also is set to enact new initiatives in an effort to keep people from being hit by trains, Metro Transit officials said.
Over the next month, the agency plans to post new warning signs and posters at platforms and inside rail cars emphasizing the proper way for motorists and pedestrians to interact with trains.
In the spring, it will continue work on a painting project started last year designed to steer pedestrians and bicyclists from areas deemed unsafe. It also plans to launch a pilot project that will make more lights on signs blink when trains pass by.
Staff writer Tim Harlow contributed to this report