New York Subway Will Pilot Platform Barriers To Improve Rider Safety

After a shocking death and an overall rise in violent crime at its stations, New York City's transit authority will install platform barriers to prevent intentional or accidental falls onto tracks.

February 24, 2022, 7:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

New York City Subway Platform

Yanping Nora Soong / Wikimedia Commons

The New York MTA will test platform barriers at three of its stations. As Michael Gold and Ana Ley report, the move comes after one woman was pushed in front of a train at the Times Square station, which safety advocates argue could be avoided by installing the glass doors present in many other subway systems around the world. "The announcement comes as many New Yorkers have become anxious about safety on the subway, where the rates of violent crime per million weekday passengers have risen during the pandemic even as ridership has plunged, and where the number of people who end up on the tracks, most of them intentionally, is rising."

The barriers, also called platform edge doors or platform screen doors, block riders from accessing the tracks until a train has arrived. While the MTA has insisted that installing them in all of New York's subway stations isn't feasible due to "special complexities" and cost, the recent death of Michelle Alyssa Go, the woman who was pushed off a platform, prompted the agency to take up the issue once more. "Still, expanding the pilot would present significant financial and logistical challenges. The price tag for installing barriers at the 128 stations would be about $7 billion, according to the 2019 report [released by the MTA]."

In addition to the doors, the agency says it is exploring additional options for safety improvements that include cameras at the front of trains, increased police presence on platforms, thermal detection systems, and public service announcements that address mental health and warn riders away from the tracks.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022 in The New York Times

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