Metro announced Tuesday it has hired a top-ranked New York City subway official to oversee the safety of its rail system.
Patrick Lavin, who has worked in various leadership roles for New York City Transit and currently serves as second in command for the agency's Office of System Safety, will start his new position as chief safety officer on May 9.
Lavin comes to Washington with a plethora of experience in transportation and safety issues. He received a master's degree in transportation planning and management from NYU Polytechnic Institute and a bachelor's degree in labor studies from Empire State College.
He was responsible for overseeing the restoration of the signal system after the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. Lavin also volunteer teaches for the U.S. Department of Transportation's Transportation Safety Institute, where he leads an advanced rail incident investigation course.
"Pat has a unique combination of operational and safety experience, and a proven record as a proactive and hands-on safety professional, who understands how to partner with operations and maintenance teams to achieve safer practices," Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said in a statement.
The move comes a month after interim Chief Safety Officer Lou Brown resigned. Brown had stepped in for permanent safety officer Jim Dougherty when he stepped down in September following a train derailment at the Smithsonian Station, which an investigation showed could have been prevented.
Metro is expected to announce the findings of an outside analysis that studied its power system. Wiedefeld is creating an extensive safety plan for the system that could require station closures while work is being done. Recently, Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans said that could require shutting down entire lines for six months, but Wiedefeld has since said he doesn't think that will be necessary.
Several riders at Dupont Circle reported having to evacuate the Red Line station due to smoke in the station Tuesday evening.
"@alliehilda: .@wmata train is smoking underneath at DuPont circle. Just ran out of station! @WMATARU pic.twitter.com/p2r6jyAfeF" Plz b safe!— Sempio (@Jettfuel) April 12, 2016
Red line train smoking at DuPont. Had to evacuate @unsuckdcmetro pic.twitter.com/7jU34MplJi— Rachael (@cheeriorain) April 12, 2016