Crumbling platforms cause danger in subway stations

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The MTA inspector general has discovered deterioration on subway platform edges, potentially endangering riders, but the MTA said it was working to correct the problem.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Inspector General Barry Kluger reported yellow bars which extend platforms nearly to subway car doors had fallen into disrepair at 23 of 27 stations the New York City Transit Authority had listed as safe.

New York City Transit Authority President Howard Roberts said: “There were some problems there in terms of agreement on what was a defect and what kind of a defect it was. And so that’s what needed to be tightened up and that’s what we’ve tightened up.

Roberts said it would require until December 2009 to finish the job of repairing the bars, sometimes called rubbing boards and made of wood.

Roberts said work on repairing the platform edges can be done only at limited times in a 24−hour subway system.

MTA inspectors looked into the situation after a 14−year−old boy plunged onto tracks at the Kings Highway station on the Q line in January 2008, transit officials said. The boy succeeded in pulling himself back onto the platform shortly before a subway train reached the station.

Kluger’s report said his inspection discovered that inspection and clerical mistakes concluded that many platform boards were safe when they actually were not.

The report said 57 percent of the rubbing boards on the Astoria section of the N and W lines were rated in “poor” condition, the highest number citywide.

State Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D−Astoria) called the situation “unfathomab­le.”

“Subway riders should not have to fear physical injury, or worse, simply by waiting for a train on unrepaired rubbing boards,” Gianaris said. “Waiting until December to fix these rubbing boards upon which millions step each day is unacceptab­le.”

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e−mail at or phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 136.

Updated 6:32 pm, October 10, 2011
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