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Unsafe platforms widespread in NYC subway system

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Unsafe platforms widespread in NYC subway system

By Kate Hammer and Marlene Naanes

amNY Staff Writers

February 20, 2008

 

[float=right]35831063-19162258.jpg

More and more crumbling platform edges are being

spotted througout the system.[/float]Potentially dangerous subway platforms lined with cracked and decaying wooden boards -- tripping hazards that straphangers say have been deteriorating for years -- are being found more widely throughout the system.

 

At the Dyckman Street station in Inwood, these planks, which are called rubber boards and are installed to prevent subway trains from hitting the cement platform, were so decayed they bent under the slightest pressure from a reporter's foot. Nearby, at the No. 1 train's 168th Street station, commuters complained of uneven boards that tripped them as they entered the train, and one man said he nearly fell beneath the R train at the City Hall station recently.

 

"I was shocked, the wood was so rotten it just crumbled out from underneath me," saidTodd Schultz, a 27-year-old nurse who lives in Park Slope,. Concerns over platform safety were raised after a 14-year-old Avi Katz from Borough Park fell to the tracks on after a board broke under his weight on Jan. 28 at the Kings Highway station, The teen had just moments to scramble out of the path of an oncoming Q train.

 

And on Feb. 13, an amNewYork cover story found worn or rickety boards in nine other stations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx

 

In response to the teen's fall, New York City Transit began a system-wide inspection of platform edges Thursday. A spokesman would not comment on its progress or when the findings would be released.

 

"Obviously this is a problem, these are really old things," MTA board member Andrew Albert said, referring to the wooden rubbing boards. "This inspection needs to be completed sooner rather than later."

 

Straphangers agree that the inspections can't come soon enough. Schultz's close call came the same day that New York City Transit began checking stations.

 

"I was lucky, I just lost my balance," Schultz said. "If the train wasn't there for me to grab hold of, or if I was a little kid or elderly, it could have been much worse."

 

Schultz reported the incident on commuter blog Second Ave Sagas and said he has since noticed decaying boards in subway stations in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

 

"They're really obvious, and they're everywhere," he said.

 

At the Dyckman Street station, some boards are so warped with age and water damage they curl away from the platform's edge and in some places they've nearly completely rotted away. Jocasta Sanders, 30, a legal technician who lives in Inwood, said she sees people trip all the time on crooked and buckling boards.

 

"I've seen people trip many times," she said. "It's crazy how dangerous these things are."

 

"It's been like this for years," said Stefanelly Garcia, 18, a freshman at Barnard College who grew up near the Dyckman Street station. "They reinforce it with plywood sometimes but it keeps caving in."

 

According to Albert, the MTA board member, a public education campaign might also be necessary.

 

"Put your best foot forward, just not on the edge of the platform," he said.

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Being found more widely in the system? C'mon, I've been seeing them all my life of riding the subway!

 

I think this article isn't so much for the regular commuter, but for the higher ups in the MTA who don't see this regularly, obviously.....

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Being found more widely in the system? C'mon, I've been seeing them all my life of riding the subway!

 

I think this article isn't so much for the regular commuter, but for the higher ups in the MTA who don't see this regularly, obviously.....

 

 

I agree 100%. I bet most of the BRASS hire car service/cab or drive anyway.

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