Tuesday, January 30, 2024

For safety sake?!?

I go to MTA board meetings and attend committee meetings and discuss accessibility in the New York City mass transit system. A lot of other things are discussed at these board meetings that really I don't think have anything to do with me. But this week they were talking about the installation of these safety gates that were installed at the 191st Street Station on The 1 Train. I figured I'd go check them out.

Well I knew I wasn't going to go visit a mass transit station like the JFK Air Train on the air train people are kept away from the platform the same way people are kept out of elevator shafts. It's kind of impossible to fall into the platform just like it's impossible to walk into an elevator shaft. Things have to go really wrong for that to happen. And then there's the doors at Disney World's monorail.It would take a lot of focus to accidentally walk onto the track, there.

So, when I went to 191st Street I really didn't expect to see the gold standard that we have at JFK nor the moving fence at Disney World.I understand, that to separate the platform in the same way we are separated from elevator shafts at almost 500 stations and thousands of platform would literally cost trillions of dollars. But what I found there was truly underwhelming And probably more hazardous than having nothing there at all.

Simply bolting a yellow fence into the ground to try to discourage people from walking towards the subway platform where the door will not be isn't going to stop anyone from falling or being pushed onto the tracks. And in fact I think they are actually a trip hazard themselves.I can't pretend to speak for how the visually impaired navigate the subway system. Perhaps I can update this blog with input from one of my visually impaired friends. But I can't speak as someone with mobility impairment. I see the fence and while I'm walking around it I would be worried that I would trip over the bolts that hold it into the ground.The one positive thing I can say about the subway system that it often goes unsaid is that there's no potholes on the sidewalks and platforms. For the most part it's a smooth surface. There are no metal plates sticking up out of the ground. Except, now at 191st Street. As the train approached the station I was easily able to see the fences and knew I can walk around them. And the train wasn't very crowded so I was the only one getting off. But if I was getting off the crowded train for the first time, it would be very likely that I would walk very close to that fence and trip over the bolts that hold it into the ground.

Maybe the MTA only wanted to spend a few $100,000 on this pilot project. But maybe a few hundred grand more would have been well spent on digging a little trench, so those brackets and their bolts could have been smoothed out. I know the MTA didn't want to spend a trillion dollars walls that would move when the trains actually rolled in. But what they did at 191st Street is worse than doing nothing. I hope this pilot and soon for safety sake.

above is a picture of the downtown platform
 of the 191st Street one train taken from
 the uptown platform. It shows yellow
 fences evenly spaced that are
 intended to protect people from falling onto the tracks
above is a close-up photo of the
bracket that holds the fence into the platform floor.
It looks like it's raised about half an inch and the
bolts themselves are raised in another half an inch

but here's the thing the MTA can do if they're concerned with safety. They can stop parking their vehicles in accessoride bus stops. Yesterday, well if you my friends and I were protesting in front of two Broadway we noticed an accessoride vehicle completely blocking the street for about 10 minutes so it could unload a passenger who was using a wheelchair.The reason it had to block the streetWas because the accessory bus stop that is place directly across the street from the MTA headquarters was completely blocked by government vehicles.One of them was a police car and the other one was in Accessoride Supervisor's car. 

above is a photograph of a Toyota Camry parked
in an accessoride bus stop. It's license plate is MTA AC 1830
I know that is is a accessoride supervisor's vehicle because when I went across the street to take a picture of its license plates the security guard or police officer who has been assigned to keep an eye on us while we protest came over and asked me why I was taking a picture. I told him because it's blocking the accessory bus stop which is causing that accessory vehicle to back up traffic all the way the city hall. And at the same time making the person who was using a wheelchair exit onto the street instead of the sidewalk. He told me if that supervises didn't park there someone else would so they park there. I began to tell him that that logic is completely faulty but I didn't want to get into an argument with him.

I know that the MTA doesn't have control over enforcing bus stop regulations. That's the police department and the Department of Transportation. But they can't tell their employees not to stop for park in any bus stop. Especially one in front of their own headquarters that is designated for people with disabilities to use.

I just updated this to add my 2 minutes of testimony on this subject to the MTA board on January 31st, 2024. 

I start speaking at 22 minutes and 30 seconds. Right after Robert De Niro made his 2 minute speech

1 comment:

  1. London transport sepnt billions on new stations playfroms and trains, but left a gap between platform and train an able person could get a heel stick on let alone a wheelchair user tipping up as has happened. They say it's all level access... Liars


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