35% Decrease In LIRR Gap Incidents In 2009

If you have been a long time reader of this blog (especially in 2008), you will recall countless entries about the gap problems which have plagued the LIRR. Late yesterday afternoon, the agency sent out a press release to announce some great news. Gap incidents decreased by 35% in 2009. Here are the complete details:

Gap accidents at the MTA Long Island Rail Road declined by 35 percent in 2009 compared to the prior year; and by 56 percent compared to 2007.

“We’ve made a concerted effort to address the gap issue and we think those efforts are contributing to these significant reductions in the number of incidents,” said LIRR President Helena E. Williams. “Our efforts will continue. Safety is our No. 1 concern at the LIRR. We remind customers to take responsibility for their own safety when exiting and entering trains. Put your Blackberry away, turn off your IPod and stow your cell phone for that moment. Your safety depends on it.”

In 2009, there were 77 gap incidents, down from 119 incidents in 2008 and 175 in 2007.

Through 2009, the LIRR expended approximately $27 million in gap mitigation efforts. An additional $12.3 million will be spent through 2012 addressing the gap by completing platform modifications, installing threshold plates on M3 and C3 cars, and the use of special platform conductors.

The LIRR’s multifaceted approach to gap mitigation includes a comprehensive customer education/awareness ‘Be TrainSmart’ Safety campaign; installation of platform edgeboards and shifting of platforms and track to reduce the gap; retrofitting of trains cars with wider threshold plates; and platform stencilings, expanded station signage and celebrity announcements advising customers to be mindful of the gap.

Currently, all the LIRR’s 836 newer M7 electric cars – the bulk of the LIRR fleet – have been fitted with new, wider threshold plates. Additional safety measures remain in place at Syosset Station, which is on a significant curve, including the use of special platform conductors, the call-ahead-for-assistance program, additional signage, platform edge lighting and platform cameras and monitors.

This is great news as for quite a period of time, this issue plagued the LIRR. I find it refreshing that this issue has not lead to many headlines in recent memory. Lets hope 2010 brings an even further decrease in gap incidents.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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