LIRR escalator review leads to 10 shutdowns

August 21, 2012 3:17:52 PM PDT
Almost half of the LIRR's 19 escalators are shut down due to safety concerns found during a review.

If you've taken the LIRR lately you've probably noticed crews fixing escalators at several stations like the one in Babylon.

Most people know why it's happening.

"It all happened when that woman fell. Seems like that's the only thing that prompted them to take it seriously," said Bill Costanza, a Babylon resident.

It was last March when 88-year-old Irene Bernatzky fell on the escalator at the Lindenhurst station and her clothes got caught, choking her to death.

The LIRR has shut down 10 of the systems 19 escalators for repairs including the one in Lindenhurst.

"The steps, the hand rails, we're putting in new safety sensors," said Joe Calderone, LIRR.

The LIRR says escalators in Rockville Centre, Baldwin, Amityville and Freeport should be ready to use by the end of September.

The escalator at the Copiague station is slated to reopen in October.

In the meantime, people like Lawrence Nagel who has a bad knee have been forced to take the stairs.

"I'm glad they're fixing it, but I wish they would get going already," Nagel said.

"I've seen senior citizens; they had problems getting up the stairs. There's no one here to help them," said Dale Black, a Freeport resident.

"We know that these repairs are causing an inconvenience and we apologize for that," Calderone said.

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