Within Months: MTA to Start Building Protective Barriers Between Commuters and Tracks on Subway Platforms
By Yehudit Garmaise
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will soon launch a $100 million construction project to build protective barriers that will protect commuters from G-d forbid, falling or getting pushed onto the tracks at three New York City subway stations.
The first three stations at which the MTA will begin installing the platform doors are the Queens’ Sutphin Boulevard-Archer Avenue Station and Manhattan’s Third Avenue Station and the Times Square-42nd Street Station, where a homeless man killed 40-year-old Michelle Go by shoving her in front of an oncoming R train at 9:30am on Jan. 15, 2022.
Although for years, the MTA has considered installing platform doors, “engineering obstacles and enormous costs,” The City reported, stalled the massive project in New York City: until February 2022, after Go’s tragic death.
Commuters at subway stations worldwide in cities such as Paris, Tokyo, Barcelona, São Paolo, and Hong Kong, already enjoy the security of similar protective gates that separate people from the tracks.
In the last 15 months, the MTA has created its initial designs to create platform barriers and will begin construction in the coming months, MTA spokeswoman Joana Flores told The New York Post. New York is still choosing among the 56 construction and engineering companies that have bid on taking on the lucrative contract.
While one woman who works in Brooklyn said that protective barriers would help her to feel less anxiety about falling or getting pushed onto the train tracks, another Brooklyn commuter said that what most prevents her from taking the subway on a regular basis is “the clientele.”
“What would make me feel more inclined to use the subway is if the people riding it were more normal and if no one could get on without first paying,” said Chantchy, who prefers to take the bus from Brooklyn to Manhattan twice a week because it feels much safer and more pleasant.
Whether fears of getting shoved onto train tracks scare public transit users or not, the number of commuters who are shoved onto the tracks has increased this year to a frightening 25, which is up from 21, last year.
Just last week, 35-year-old subway rider Emine Ozsoy was left paralyzed after Kamal Semrade, 39, allegedly pushed her onto the tracks at the Lexington Avenue and 63rd street station, the Post reported.
“We want to see the book thrown at this guy, whoever he is,” MTA CEO Janno Lieber said at an MTA board meeting last week. “Whatever his motivation, we need our riders to know that those kinds of people are going to suffer the maximum consequences if they do something like that.”