Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R-Syosset); James Dermody, president of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and Ray Kenny, senior vice president of Operations for LIRR, announced the implementation of safety measures at Syosset Railroad Station.
After the tragic death of 18-year-old Natalie Smead at the Woodside train station, gap-related accidents have been brought to the forefront of everyone's attention.
The Syosset Station has proven to be one of the most problematic because of the large curved platform. To immediately address the safety concerns the LIRR will install closed circuit television monitors that will allow the conductor to view both ends of the platform. Such monitors will equip conductors with the knowledge they need to make quick decisions; assuring the safety of passengers.
"The safety of the ridership is the main concern and although everyone is aware of the use of cameras for security, their use in train stations may not be as well known. Cameras and monitors are put in place to help conductors see that passengers have safely boarded or disembarked from the train," said Marcellino.
The cost of the monitoring system at the Syosset Station will be approximately $1 million to $1.5 million and will be paid for by a state grant secured by Marcellino.
The LIRR will also be making announcements at the stops to remind riders to "Watch the Gap."
"These are steps we can take now while we investigate and review all of the platform gaps and seek a corrective solution," said Senator Marcellino. Marcellino has also joined Senator Dean Skelos in calling for a broader view of protecting the public when they ride the rails, developing a strategy for all stations and focusing resources in keeping the public safe in high risk areas.
"We cannot wait for another tragic accident to do something about this problem. I pledge to do all I can so that another senseless death is prevented," said Marcellino.
Nassau County Presiding Officer Judy Jacobs recently announced that she will be launching a petition drive calling on Long Island Rail Road officials to bridge the 15-inch gap that exists between the trains and platform at the Syosset train station, as well as other stations. Last week she called the railroad's proposed "solution" of video surveillance cameras "unacceptable."
Rather than surveillance cameras to help bridge the gap, Jacobs called for the same protection that exists on many New York stations, where extensions come out from under the platforms to close the gaps on the train.
"Anything short of that same type of installation is totally irresponsible and unresponsive to the protection of public safety," said Jacobs. That is why she will be asking Syosset residents to sign a petition expressing their dissatisfaction with the LIRR's proposal and to write letters to LIRR President Dermody.
"Surveillance cameras cannot prevent a person from falling through the gaps. Surveillance cameras will not protect a person from being injured, or possibly killed. The LIRR knew about this problem since 1970," said Jacobs.
Jacobs was at the Syosset train station on Wednesday morning to collect signatures for her petition drive and she collected over 250 signatures. She is urging residents to write to the LIRR president and address the letters to her office so that they can be mailed in bulk to the LIRR's offices. For more information, call 571-6216.
James Dermody, President, LIRR
C/o Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs
One West Street
Mineola, NY 11501