New York City Plans to Install Subway Barriers After Spate of Attacks

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
February 24, 2022Updated: February 28, 2022

Platform doors will be installed at multiple stations in New York City’s subway system after a spate of attacks, including six stabbings, a top transportation official says.

The pilot program will see the doors put in place at three stations, including the Times Square station, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Janno Lieber told NY1.

Another effort focuses on using new technology, including lasers, to alert workers more quickly to when people are on the tracks in the system, one of the largest in the world.

Both pilot programs come after a “significant increase” in the number of people getting on the tracks and inside tunnels, Lieber said.

“A lot of people are doing it voluntarily. Sometimes people with mental health issues do it and they don’t understand the dangers and so on,” he said. Others are being pushed.

Michelle Alyssa Go, 40, was killed in January when a homeless man shoved her onto the tracks.

The platform doors will be installed in 2024, a spokesperson for the transportation authority told The Epoch Times in an email. The cost is expected to be above $100 million, while the materials haven’t been decided upon and will be determined through a procurement process.

Many of the largest subway systems around the world have platform doors, but New York officials have resisted installing them in part because the system, much of which was built more than a century ago, can’t handle the doors in many areas.

A feasibility study (pdf) completed in 2020 found that platform doors could only be installed at 41 of the 472 stations studied.

Still, the pilot drew some praise, including from Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine.

“This will be a huge win for safety & efficiency. Truly a milestone in the history of NYC’s subways. Congrats to all who fought for this,” Levine, a Democrat, wrote on Twitter.

Others said the pilot wouldn’t be enough.

“A pilot program for three stations out of 472, which won’t even go into effect for at least another two years, is not an adequate solution for the serious violent-crime crisis we face on the subway right now,” Nicole Gelinas, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, told The Epoch Times via email.

“Police and mental-health professionals must secure subway platforms by securing the faregate, ensuring that people with a tendency toward anti-social behavior can’t come in by ensuring they can’t beat the fare. In addition, rather than pursue a multi-billion-dollar platform doors plan, the MTA should consider far more simpler infrastructure ideas, such as fixed railings and barriers that separate the platform from the track bed in all areas of the station but the boarding areas near the doors,” she added.

The office of Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, didn’t return an inquiry.

Adams, a former police officer who took office on Jan. 1, has vowed to remove homeless people from the system after years of officials letting them sleep on trains through the night.

New York City’s system operates 24/7.

“People tell me about their fear of using the system, and we are going to ensure that fear is not New York’s reality,” Adams told reporters on Feb. 21.

A plan to improve system safety includes adding police officers.

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