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Crumbling platforms have riders on edge


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Crumbling platforms have riders on edge

By Marlene Naanes

amNewYork Staff Writer

February 13, 2008



Willie Davis

The MTA subway platform for the Avenue M station stop on the Q train suffers from

deferred maintenance. Edges of the platform have been extended with wood boarding to

lessen the gap between the train; however much of it is worn and rotting.


Broken, rickety or partially missing portions of wooden boards at the end of subway platforms exist throughout the city's underground system, posing potential safety hazards to riders.


At each of the nine random stations amNewYork examined in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx, wooden edges -- or rubbing boards -- were found to be at various stages of disrepair. Five underground stations on the No. 6 line in the Bronx, for example, have loose and rotted boards, some with portions missing or hanging by a nail.


The danger of unstable boards was highlighted by the fall of Brooklyn teenager Avi Katz, who said that he was bruised and nearly hit by a Q train when a 10-inch wooden board at the Kings Highway station gave way under his footing, sending him onto the tracks.


"This station is an example of the very dangerous conditions at other stations in the system," said Assemb. Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn), who added that his staffers have also found several other dangerous boards in his district. "What happened to Avi Katz is a wake up call."


Transit officials said that injuries from the boards are "rare." But that has not eased riders' minds.


At the platform where Katz fell, a board creaked and shifted when straphanger Richard Castillo yesterday tested its sturdiness.


"Oh do you hear that?" said the Midwood resident, 29. "It's scary because I usually step there to look for an oncoming train."


The primary purpose of the boards -- which range from 1.5 inches to 10 inches wide -- is to keep trains from striking the sides of cement platforms.


Riders are warned against standing on or near the platform edge for their own safety, said transit spokesman, Paul Fleuranges. It is unclear how many wooden boards are in the system and when all aging boards will be replaced. Fleuranges said typically, they are replaced when stations are made handicapped accessible, when stations are rehabbed once every several years or when specific work orders are submitted.


"If a platform edge rubbing board is found to be in disrepair, it is replaced," Fleuranges said.


The boards at four of the Bronx stations amNewYork examined are slated to be replaced with plastic slabs, but it is unclear when the project will begin. The Kings Highway Station and two others surveyed recently on the Q line in Brooklyn will be rehabbed, possibly beginning at the end of the year.


In the meantime, passengers stepping onto and off trains could risk injury or a fall, said City Council Transportation Chair John Liu.


"Nobody should be walking on those," Liu said of the edge boards. "But people inadvertently step on them, and that doesn't absolve the transit authority of disrepair."


Riders at three South Brooklyn stations along the Q line said repairs were needed years ago, and transit officials should put signs warning passengers, especially children, to stay away from damaged rubbing boards.


"It's an accident waiting to happen," said Aaron Mandel, a straphanger yesterday at the Avenue M station in Midwood.


Platform edge problems


Brooklyn, (Q) line:

- Avenue J: boards are separated from the platform and warped.

- Avenue M: boards are rotted; one had a hole around a bolt holding it in place.

- Kings Highway: boards are splintered, separated from the platform and rattle.


Bronx, (6) line:

- Cypress Avenue: boards wobble and are separate from platform.

- East 143rd Street: boards move and are separated from the platform.

- East 149th Street: boards are partially rotted, separated from the platform and wobble.

- Longwood Avenue: boards are loose; one section is hanging by a nail.

- Hunts Point Avenue: boards are separated from platform and loose.


Manhattan, ©/(E) lines:

- 23rd Street: boards are loose; one board was hanging below the platform edge.


Photo Gallery: amny_logo.gif icon_offsite.png - February 13, 2008

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