Anyone who has been to London knows the audio warning in the Tube to “Mind the gap” between the platform and the subway car. It’s a simple thing, but effective and somewhat iconic.
As downtown Kansas City is learning to live with the new streetcar system, many drivers could use a warning like that because they have gotten a lesson the hard way. One car has been struck by a streetcar. Others have been towed and ticketed because drivers have yet to get the word: Along the streetcar line, the path is narrow and fixed and cars and trucks must make way by parking against the curbs inside the painted white lines.
Although streetcar proponents say the problem will diminish, some drivers surely will need perpetual reminders. The streetcar people have branded a message to “Respect the Rail.” But that applies to other safety issues and it doesn’t do the job on parking.
Perhaps the Streetcar Authority could take an echo from London and start a campaign to “Mind the Line.”
Signage with that message could be posted along the curbs. They would go a long way toward planting the idea that drivers need to hug the curb, check whether they’ve fit inside the lines (side mirrors included) or try again — or risk the certain consequences.
This is a true public safety issue. So let’s hear it again: “Mind the Line.”