Nearly every time we report on a person jumping or falling into the subway tracks, we receive comments along the lines of "is it just me, or has this been happening a lot lately?" Sadly, it just happens a lot. In 2009 alone, 90 people were struck by trains and 40 of them died. In an effort to lower those numbers the MTA is going back to the idea well and is asking for proposals for a system of sliding doors on subway platforms. Like in other cities (and at AirTrain stops), the sliding glass doors would go on the edge of the platform and would only open when a train was in the station.
The protective platforms concept is stil very much in its infancy, but it has two obvious perks: Not only would it be harder to fall into the tracks, it would also prevent platform trash from collecting in the tracks (and then causing fires and delays).
Before we get there though, some obvious questions are going to need answering. Like:
- Who is going to pay for it? One idea being touted is that the company who builds the metal-and-glass doors would put ads on them and pay for them that way. The MTA certainly doesn't have the budget for it.
- How will these doors work on curvy stations? The examples of such doors we've seen elsewhere are in straight stations and New York has some notoriously undulating platforms.
- Would sliding doors go on outside platforms too? Would they be covered as well?
All in all, we're very curious to see what kinds of proposals the MTA gets. There is a good idea in there, but we can foresee a whole lot of problems with it too. After all, the MTA has a long history of working on interesting ideas and then making such a mess of them that all we can do is cry as we pay $104 for a 30-day Metrocard.