Tuesday, February 01, 2011

MTA Mulls Safety Doors For Subways

This is an idea that makes tremendous sense, but the cost is going to be the main issue barring implementation.
The MTA may install sliding mechanical doors on subway platforms so riders can't fall, jump - or get pushed to the tracks.

The metal-and-glass doors would be part of a barrier along a platform's edge and would open only after a train stops at the station, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority document shows.

The system would help prevent tragic incidents, like the Sunday morning death on the L train tracks of 24-year-old Brendan Mahoney in Brooklyn, officials said.

And it would protect riders from killers like Andrew Goldstein, the mental patient who shoved 32-year-old Kendra Webdale to her death in front of a speeding N train beneath Madison Square Park in 1999.

In 2009 alone, 90 people were struck by trains - and 40 died, NYC Transit stats show. "We are very early in the process of looking at the possibility of installing platform doors that would go a long way toward enhancing passenger safety and station appearance," MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said.

The protective platforms under consideration are increasingly common overseas in cities like London, Paris and Tokyo. They are also in use closer to home at AirTrain stops in Queens and in New Jersey.
Congestion and crowding at some stations makes the likelihood of even being accidentally pushed onto the tracks a real possibility. It would make the subways vastly safer, and it would allow for the implementation of improved climate control in stations, which are often unbearably hot in the winter or incredibly cold in the summer.

The doors would also reduce the amount of trash that collects on the tracks. That trash often starts fires when sparks given off from passing subway cars ignite the newspapers and other debris that commuters toss into the tracks rather than garbage cans. That, in turn, would reduce the amount of garbage that rats and mice could feed upon, and help the MTA get the rodent problem under control.

Would you accept higher fares for the safety that these doors would bring?

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