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Stringer: New York City On Track For Twice As Many Subway Deaths This Year

Manhattan Borough President Calls For Investigation Into 'Tragic' Accidents
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer (file/credit: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer (file/credit: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

NYC Is A Strange Place

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City officials have called for an investigation into the recent subway deaths in an effort to put the brakes on the number of incidents.

There have been six subway deaths already in 2013. The circumstances in the incidents vary, but Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said the rash of deaths on the tracks deserves a closer look.

The city is on pace for 100 deaths this year – almost twice as many as last year, Stringer said.

“These accidents have been happening too often and to too many New Yorkers. The time is now to search for answers,” Stringer told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell and 1010 WINS’ Holli Haerr. “They’re something visceral and something tragic.”

Stringer has called on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority inspector general to investigate and come up with possible solutions.

“We’ve asked the MTA to study the feasibility of real-world solutions like platform barriers and safety doors,” said Stringer. “Sliding doors are already used right here in the Port Authority at AirTrain stops in Queens and New Jersey and in cities around the world like London and Tokyo.”

Other options include audio warnings and better signage, Haskell reported.

“Now is the time to figure out why it’s happening, where it’s happening, how it’s happening, what exactly it’s happening,” he said.

The MTA had previously said safety barriers would not be considered because of the high cost. But Stringer said the hefty price tag should not stop an analysis.

“You can’t throw up your hands and say we’re paralyzed because we have no financial resources,” said Stringer.

He said any option that can save lives is worth considering.

“Saving one life, to me, is important and it’s urgent,” New York City Council Transportation Committee Chairman James Vacca said.

Of the incidents so far this year, a young woman was killed early New Year’s Day morning when she stumbled onto the tracks. Last week, a man fell onto the tracks as he was between cars defecating.

Last weekend, three people were killed in a 24-hour period, Stringer added.

In response to the recent surge in subway deaths, the Transport Workers Union has launched a campaign urging train operators to slow down as they enter stations.

The MTA has also called for an aggressive campaign to continue to urge straphangers to, among other things, stand away from the platform edge.

Stringer noted that the recent spike in incidents has the city on track to reach 116 subway deaths, more than double last year’s death toll. Haskell reported that there were 55 subway deaths in 2012.

What, if anything, do you think should be done to prevent subway deaths? Sound off in the comments section below…