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Riders Need Many Solutions, Not Platform Doors

Platform doors won’t solve the larger problems of people living in the transit system, some of whom have mental illness and some of whom are violent. They need services and riders need to be safe – the kind of safety that will prevent all sorts of crimes, which platform doors won’t do. Platform doors come with their own set of problems: with so many different vehicle classes, alignment with cars would be very difficult; there would be accessibility issues on some platforms and not enough clearance for wheelchair users; they tend to be heavy and could require major station renovations; if they go out of service, so does the entire platform – and we know that some New Yorkers like to “hold” doors for other people.

A recently released large-scale study was undertaken by the MTA that determined that it wasn’t feasible to equip all stations with platform doors, causing a whole new set of issues, concerns and problems. Although the topic is renewed because of current circumstances, some things haven’t changed. Capital dollars remain scarce, with needs ongoing and significant so that the system stays in a state of good repair, and investments in resiliency improvements and expansion projects continue to enable transit to keep up with the needs of the region and its riders.

The new SOS program, with combined police and social service deployment to meet the needs of riders and those with mental illness and addiction issues underground can’t be implemented fast enough. The commitment from NYPD Transit to have its officers on trains on Saturdays and Mondays and every day, and the new collaborative information-sharing between the NYPD and MTA – the eyes in the system – that will be used to support better deployment should help target known problem areas and individuals.  Every tool available needs to be used to get a handle on the myriad problems in the system in as compassionate, yet expedient, manner possible, including identifying where it’s appropriate to use Kendra’s Law.

We aren’t facing one problem, we’re facing many. There isn’t one solution.