New Blue Line Extension causes confusion at light rail crossings

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Hundreds of riders climbed aboard the new LYNX Blue Line Extension on Friday morning, but the newly extended service left many drivers confused.

[WELCOME ABOARD: Riders pack Blue Line Extension from uptown to UNCC]

Eyewitness News anchor John Paul spent 90 minutes at the intersection of Orr Road and North Tryon Street. He saw more than a dozen cars, trucks, and SUVS stop over the crossing line.

In one case, the car was so far beyond the line that the gates closed behind it.

John Paul saw an SUV almost get hit as the gates came down, but backed up at the last minute.

Charlotte Area Transit System CEO John Lewis told Channel 9 earlier this week he was worried about incidents like this.

“The number one issue that we want the public to know is to pay attention to the new traffic patterns on North Tryon,” Lewis said.

CATS has also been warning drivers for weeks on social media to pay attention to the markings.

Last month, a Channel 9 investigation exposed the same problems in South End. Our cameras caught cars getting stuck as the gates came down, and we showed viewers surveillance video of a car getting hit after the driver panicked when the gates went down.

[How safe are Charlotte's light rail crossings?]

There are clear markings along the tracks, so Channel 9 asked drivers what was going on?

“Did you notice you were over the line?” John Paul asked.

“Yeah, we’re trying to set off the sensor to get the light to change,” one driver said.

But even if you’re over the line, the sensor won’t trip.

The intersection at Orr Road had so many issues Friday that an engineer was stationed there to keep an eye on the train and drivers.

Engineers will be out monitoring all the intersections for at least the next months to see if any changes are necessary to the light rail crossings.

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com: