The SkyTrain was delayed a bit when I transferred to the Expo Line at Waterfront station this afternoon, something that is happening more frequently, though with no discernible pattern. But today’s delay was a little different.
There was a track intrusion alert at Commercial-Broadway station and SkyTrain staff had to hold all trains until they could verify that the track was not, in fact, being intruded upon. Tracks hate it when you intrude upon them.
As it turns out, the cause was pigeon poop. Yes, pigeon poop.
I refer to the newly-remodeled Commercial-Broadway station as The Aviary, because the large pillars, with upward-pointing clusters of lights that are part of the new platform, have proven extremely popular for roosting among the local pigeon population. They have since added spiky wires to most of the good perching spots, but the pigeons have not been fully dissuaded from hanging around. And like the best of us, pigeons must, from time to time, relieve themselves. Being pigeons, they do this wherever they are perched, which in this case, is above and around the just-opened Platform 5.
It was more likely an actual pigeon triggered the intrusion alert, though possibly apocryphal stories suggest it was the poop itself, perhaps plopping down directly on a sensor in the track from above. In any event, it’s remarkable how these silly birds have become such a problem for the transit system.
This Daily Hive story posted earlier today notes that they are using pigeon birth control to reduce the problem by literally reducing the number of pigeons (over time). Plus netting, spikes and a falcon for good measure, too.
For the moment, though, the pigeons clearly have the upper…wing.