NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The MTA is looking at the possibility of installing platform doors at three subway stations as part of a possible pilot program to prevent riders being shoved onto the tracks.
In the past, the agency has repeatedly stated it would cost billions to install platform doors, and that the designs of most stations -- many a century old -- would not be compatible.
But in the wake of a spike in subway crime that has prompted a new safety plan from Mayor Eric Adams, as well as the horrific death of Michelle Go after she was pushed onto the tracks, has the MTA revisiting the idea.
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Platform doors have been in use on the AirTrain to JFK since it was built nearly 20 years ago. They open and close only when the train is in the station, preventing anyone from accidentally or deliberately landing on the tracks.
Now, the MTA is about looking to install them in Times Square along the 7 line, Third Avenue along the L line, and Sutphin Boulevard/Archer Avenue/JFK Airport along the E line.
The MTA said the pilot program is scheduled to be presented at Thursday's MTA board meeting, but MTA Chair and CEO Janno Leiber discussed the plans Wednesday.
"I started studying this months and months ago when I saw that the number of people getting on the tracks have risen by 20%," he said. "We're attacking a much broader problem, which is people getting on the tracks. People getting on the tracks were doing it for dumb reasons, like chasing a dropped cell phone, just crossing from platform to platform, they don't understand the risk. We want to deal with this problem and all of its complexity. There are people who have mental illness who are walking into the tunnels, so we have to do something."
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Agency officials say there is money to fund the project, but they reiterated that installing doors in all stations is not feasible.
"We have a huge system," MTA Construction & Development President Jamie Torres-Springer said. "It's pretty old, a lot of it. It's hard to make something work. So everything has costs and benefits, and we need to look at those."
Mayor Eric Adams released the following statement:
"Installing subway platform doors where possible is a common-sense step we can take towards making the subways safer. I applaud the MTA for testing this idea, and my administration will work in partnership with them to evaluate their effectiveness and expand where appropriate."
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