Oct. 2 2019 By Shane O’Brien
The MTA plans to spend $325 million to install safety netting under all elevated subway tracks to improve safety for pedestrians and motorists traveling below.
The netting will cover the entirety of the elevated subway tracks in New York, although the MTA was unable to provide a timeline for the installation.
There have been numerous incidents of debris falling from the elevated tracks this year, including several incidents in Woodside, and cars have been impaled or damaged as a result.
The MTA responded to the issue by installing safety netting at four stations throughout New York in July as part of a pilot program, including under the 61st Street-Woodside 7 station and under the 39th Avenue N/W station.
The agency now plans on rolling out safety netting city-wide as part of its $51.5 billion capital plan.
Nancy Gamerman, a spokesperson for the MTA, said that installing safety netting was one of many initiatives the MTA was pursuing to make the subway system safer.
“Safety is the top priority at NYC Transit, and we continually review our system to find ways it can be enhanced and improved. Increasing netting on elevated structures is just one of our efforts.”
Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer said that it was a huge relief that the MTA had decided to install the netting. The Council Member also said that he would persevere with public pressure until the nets were up.
“This is a huge win after months of advocating with the community for improvements along the 7 train,” Van Bramer said. “The MTA’s capital plan is outlined for the next five years, but we must keep up the pressure to ensure that the netting is put up as soon as possible.”
“After at least seven consecutive incidents of dangerous falling debris, this situation still must be treated with urgent care until the safety of all New Yorkers are guaranteed. We are incredibly lucky that no one has been injured or killed so far.”
Van Bramer’s office said that the MTA planned to install netting under the entirety of the elevated tracks.
Council Member Costa Constantinides also praised the decision to install netting and said that it would help prevent casualties. The Council Member held a rally in Astoria in August when a flashlight fell from the Ditmars Boulevard N/W station and almost struck a pedestrian below.
“I am glad to see the MTA finally recognizes that pedestrians and cyclists are at risk anytime they cross the street or ride under an elevated track,” said Constantinides.
“Flashlights shouldn’t fall from the sky and nearly hit someone on the head – but that’s exactly what happened here in Astoria this summer. I hope the MTA will be a good community partner by installing protective netting under the entirety of the N/W elevated track in Astoria.”