2006_09_platformgap.jpgA month after a visiting teenager fell through a platform gap at the Woodside Long Island Railroad station and died, a 4 year old fell into a platform gap at Penn Station. Little Britney Walker, and her family, who moved to Long Island because their Mississippi home was damaged by Hurricane Katrina, were boarding an LIRR train to Huntington, and when Britney fell, her mother Terrian Walker had been walking right behind her, but she was pulling luggage from a trip. Their family friend Walter Casey tried to reach for her, but was shocked - of all the places to land, she landed on top of the third rail, though luckily on its "protective housing." The Post reports MTA cop Raymond Weingard as saying, "She was kind of like sitting on the third rail, on the guard rail. We were telling her not to move. She was crying, asking for her mother." The power was cut and Britney was recovered by a LIRR worker; she was also taken to Bellevue with only had some scratches and bruises.

The Daily News says that the gaps at that platform ranged from 7 to 10 inches - maybe not enough for an adult to fall through, but enough to be certainly tripped by it and clearly enough for a child to fall through. (Yes, yes, parents should hold onto their kids, but what if the kid lets go when he/she falls?) And the gaps at other stations are as big as 15 inches. LIRR commuter advocates have been calling for better platform gap safety measures.