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Investigation: 1-Size Fits All Subway

6-foot And Taller Straphangers Have Issues Underground
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Alex Marshall can barely fit through a NYC subway turnstile

At 6-foot-7, Alex Marshall barely fits through a NYC subway turnstile.

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NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Riding the rails hasn’t been easy this summer. There’s less service, increased fare and blazing temperatures on the platforms.

But that’s nothing compared to what a certain group of straphangers say they’re forced to endure every single day.

CBS 2’s Chris Wragge has more on Gotham’s danger under ground.

Alex Marshall said standing tall in New York City’s subways isn’t only challenging, it’s downright dangerous.

“I’ve hit my head on hanging signs, on the bars on the turnstiles,” Marshall said.

Marshall said in recent years he’s seen an increase in the amount of low hanging items — from signs to security cameras — that have caused bumps, bruises, even bloodshed. He showed us just how difficult it can be to navigate these obstacles when you’re over 6 feet tall during a walk through the Union Square station.

At 6-7, believe it or not, he’s far from alone. The Tall Club of New York estimates there are at least 160,000 men and women over 6 feet living in the City. A lot of these tall straphangers say they’re growing tired of hitting their heads on these low hung obstacles.

“It’s right for me at eye level, and they are very sharp at the edges so you have to watch your face and it sounds minimal but you can hit your head and hurt yourself and get cut,” City Island resident Paul Badome said.

Badome is 6-11 and said he’s constantly ducking and weaving so he doesn’t get hit in the head, but every once in a while it happens.

“If I’m not thinking as I’m walking, just thinking about my agenda that day, I can bump my head,” Badome said.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires any items hung in public places be 80 inches off the ground. But we found many objects — like a camera in Penn Station — installed well below that. Patrick Cashim, who stands 6-7, said something needs to be done.

“If they can adjust it without bringing the fare up higher, then it would be a lot nicer for us,” Cashim said.

“I understand that it’s a design challenge,” Marshall added.

Marshall, an expert in urban planning himself, said he knows how difficult it is to have a one-size-fits-all subway system, but right now there are just too many objects hanging below the 7-foot requirement.

What’s worse, he said there’s no uniformity when it comes to the height of entrances and exits so you constantly have to be on guard.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority told CBS 2 at 100 years old the New York City subway system has some very low ceilings, making it difficult to ensure all items are hung above 7 feet.

If you encounter a particular problem with a security camera, the MTA will investigate. It advises using caution when it comes to the turnstiles.

To file a complaint about a particular item, please click here.

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