2 survive jumps in front of subway trains
Authorities said two people survived apparent suicide jumps in front of subway trains Monday, capping off a six-day spate of cases in which nine people were killed or injured on the tracks.
An unidentified man jumped in front of a Manhattan-bound E train at the Northern Boulevard station in Woodside about 5:30 a.m., officials said. He was in serious condition at Elmhurst Hospital Center Monday night.
Hours later, a woman jumped in front of a downtown No. 1 train at the 157th Street station in Manhattan, and she was taken to Harlem Hospital Center in critical condition, transit officials said.
Subway deaths have come under heavy scrutiny this year, with 13 in 29 cases so far. In response, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has increased an ad campaign imploring riders to stay away from platform edges, which some say is really all that can be done in the short term.
"The thing they can do in the very short run, they're doing, which is try to get the word out to the public," said Gene Russianoff, staff attorney of the Straphangers Campaign. "That isn't enough, but it's pretty quick turnaround for them. It's not like the solutions here are easy or cheap."
The MTA is also looking at programs to experiment with glass barriers on platforms and an intrusion detection system, which would alert train operators to objects on the tracks. Neither program has a solid timetable.
Still, some think the MTA should be doing more.
"They believe the proper response is simply to make repeat announcements to stand away from the edge of the platform, but it's not working," said Steve Downs, chairman of the Transportation Workers Union Local 100's Train Operators Division.
"It's clear from this last week that that's not working," he said.
The union wants the MTA to have train operators enter stations more slowly, which the union says will help cut fatalities.
MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg said the agency has "proven through computer modeling . . . that slowing down trains pulling into stations would create enormous overcrowding."