News that a 92-year-old man fell into the gap between the train and the station platform while exiting a Long Island Railroad train at the Great Neck station is a reminder that the LIRR has a long way to go in making its platforms safe.
"Despite a project costing more than $35 million initiated by the LIRR four years ago to fix the gap issue, we are still seeing very wide gaps at many stations and as a result still reading about and hearing from clients with similar stories of gap accidents at train stations," noted Long Island personal injury lawyer Neal Goldstein, a partner in the firm Goldstein and Bashner.
The LIRR began a major "gap remediation" project back in 2007 after a scathing Newsday investigation spurred by the death of 18-year-old Natalie Smead at the Woodside station. That report found that about 38 percent of station platforms had dangerous gaps and that the LIRR, its parent agency and state and federal oversight officials had done little to address a problem that had injured hundreds of riders.
"Gap-related incidents have declined since 2007, but this project, which was initially supposed to be completed in two years and is now slated to end in 2012, is taking way too long and not going far enough to ensure that passengers are safe," said Goldstein.
One of the worst gaps is at the Syosset train station, where improvements costing more than $1.5 million have still left the station with 10 inch platform gaps by some of the doors. Said Goldstein, "While this is an improvement from the 15 inch gaps at that station just a few years ago, 10 inches is still way too dangerous and there have been several incidents at this station."
"There have been dozens of gap-related injuries at LIRR stations in the past year, and we are going to just keep hearing more and more about these accidents unless even more active steps are taken to fix the situation," said Goldstein.
About Goldstein and Bashner
Goldstein and Bashner is a personal injury law firm with offices in New York City and on Long Island. Partners Neal Goldstein and Robert Bashner have been practicing law for more than 20 years, specializing in FELA and railroad injury cases as well as car accidents, premise liability and construction accidents.