2006_08_lirr2.jpgThe tragic death of Natalie Smead at the Woodside LIRR station made people wonder how the 18 year old could fall between the train car and platform in the first place. (Smead fell into the track, then rolled over to another train track where an incoming train hit her.) The answer becomes clearer in today's Daily News: The gap at the Woodside station was six to eight inches. Now, sure, the train conductors say to mind the gap, there are signs saying there's a gap, but six to eight inches seems egregiously big, especially when you're stepping down from a train car - you'd probably need to jump. Also, the Daily News points out:

There is no federal safety regulation that sets a maximum width for the gap between platform and train, a Federal Railroad Administration spokesman said. The Americans with Disabilities Act, though, sets a 3-inch gap limit at newly constructed or renovated stations.

No federal safety regulation for platform gaps - great. And if the ADA has a three inch gap rule for new stations, we'd venture to say that gaps of six inches or more is not kosher.

The LIRR had had 56 platform gap accidents in 2005, and 59 in 2004 (if you're averaging more than 1 accident a week, does that the MTA needs to do more or is that in keeping with past years?). And according to Wikipedia, at the Flatbush LIRR station, the first two train cars on Tracks 1 and 2 are not accessible because of the wide platform gaps.

Photograph from Triborough on Flickr