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Nina In New York: Subway Safety & Solutions

People enter the subway at Union Square (credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

People enter the subway at Union Square (credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Best NYC Eats

A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York. The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
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By Nina Pajak

So, what in the world is going on here? Why is everyone suddenly getting killed on the subway tracks? And why does every freak occurrence have to turn into an actual thing nowadays?

It isn’t just media hype. Manhattan borough president, Scott Stringer, has predicted that 100 people will die by subway train by the end of the year. I assume that estimate is based on the rate we’re going (seven so far and it’s not even February), and not on a crystal ball or some sort of high-level conspiracy in which the government is employing subway pushers and hapless drunks to keep numbers accurate.

Now the MTA is exploring a number of options to prevent that prediction from coming true, including protective barriers that would make it nearly impossible for a person to get anywhere near the tracks before the subway is safely in the station. There are some concerns, like how the barriers would impede emergency exits or worker escape routes, but if cities across Europe and Asia can figure it out, I’m sure we can come up with something. Although, the $1 billion it would take to install this feature may be a little more difficult to figure out. With fares already hiked for 2013 simply to keep the lights on and the trains running, I can’t imagine what a project like this would cost commuters. Then again, no more subway pushings is one of those things one might consider to be priceless.

Another idea is to install motion sensors that would trigger whenever someone falls, and which would ostensibly alert drivers and station workers right away, thereby preventing trains from accidentally crushing people to death before they have a chance to scramble back up to the platform. Sounds pretty decent to me.

In the meantime, the MTA is making lots of announcements and doing a great job at raising public awareness. Unfortunately, psychotic subway pushers and wasted, semi-suicidal people probably don’t much care to heed public safety announcements.

For now, my back is up against the wall and I’m constantly surveying my surroundings on the platform like a shifty-eyed squirrel. I suggest you all do the same.