Between-Car Safety Barriers Installed on MetroLink Platforms

Safety Ballards at Arch-Laclede's Landing MetroLink Station

Metro employees are installing safety bollards on MetroLink station platforms starting this week.

The bollards are positioned in front of the gaps between train cars and are designed to help prevent passengers, especially visually-impaired riders, from falling off the platform onto the tracks. They are spring-loaded so they could be rolled over in an emergency.

Metro engineers tested several different types of barriers at Brentwood, Civic Center and other MetroLink Stations last  fall.  Installation should be finished by early summer so if you see these bright yellow additions to the platform, realize it is to help better protect transit riders.

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  • http://www.stlelsewhere.blogspot.com Daron

    mmmmmm…….. There are still no system maps in the bus shelters I walk past on a daily basis, but engineers and cluttered platforms get the green light.

    When money presents itself we really need to ditch the outdoor heaters and hideous yellow sticks. Glass walls and temperature controlled stations please.

  • mike

    I think between car barriers mounted on the trains would have been better, and probably cheaper.

  • Jimmy Z

    There seem to be better things to spend money on. Is there any history or pattern of passengers unintentionally ending up between cars? I’d expect more problems with people either being idiots and intentionally trying to get between the vehicles (which these barriers won’t prevent) or from people falling off the platform when trains aren’t present (which these barriers won’t prevent). In the immortal words of a comedian, “You can’t fix stupid!”

  • Jimmy Z

    BTW, if you really wanted to help the visually-impaired community, a more-useful investment would be some sort of tactile warning that would locate where the train doors would be when the vehicle stops (to reduce confusion and speed boarding), not a warning about where the doors won’t be!

  • mike

    Jimmy Z

    Your point is well taken. However, some of the transit systems which receive Federal funding (Washington, DC’s Metro for example), require that certain safety measures are taken in order to continue qualifying for funding. One of the requirements included the installation of between car barriers which have been mounted on their train cars.

    Several systems that I have ridden, including the ones in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia have pretty wide gaps between their train cars. Their platforms, just like Metrolink’s, can sometimes become packed with crowds during rush hour, or with crowds and revelers from sporting events and festivals, and there is always that possbility that someone could slip and fall, or could accidently be pushed between train cars between cars. I know it has happened in New York. Even if these barriers don’t actually prevent some crazy individual from crashing through them, for the average individual, it will still provide the precautionary means to help avoid standing close to the area between train cars.

    When it comes to safety, we don’t want accidents or catastrophies to occur first before we talk about how they could have been prevented. Safety is the one area where you must be pro-active and not reactive.

  • mike

    Jimmy Z

    Your point is well taken. However, some of the transit systems which receive Federal funding (Washington, DC’s Metro for example), require that certain safety measures are taken in order to continue qualifying for funding. One of the requirements included the installation of between car barriers which have been mounted on their train cars.

    Several systems that I have ridden, including the ones in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia have wide gaps between their train cars. Their platforms, just like Metrolink’s, can sometimes become packed with crowds during rush hour, or with crowds and revelers from sporting events and festivals, and there is always that possbility that someone could slip and fall, or could accidently be pushed between train cars. I know it has happened in New York. Even if these barriers don’t actually prevent some crazy individual from crashing through them, for the average individual, it will still provide the precautionary means to help them to avoid standing close to, or at least alert them they are in the area between train cars.

    When it comes to safety, we don’t want accidents or catastrophies to occur first before we talk about how they could have been prevented. Safety is the one area where you must be pro-active and not reactive.

  • mike

    The only issue I have with the barriers located on the platforms versus those that could be mounted between train cars is the extra time that may be required for the train operator to aligned the train with the barriers on the platforms, to ensure that the gaps between trains cars are not exposed outside the barriers. That could possibly increase the dwelling time of a train at a station if that were to happen.

  • RTBones

    Wow.

    If there is a requirement for this sort of thing due to federal funding, fair enough. Everybody wants a safe system, and I certainly won’t fault Metro for trying to make it safer. But as posters here have already said – there are FAR better things for Metro to spend their money on. To me, this seems like a ridiculous waste.

  • RTBones

    See, that’s why we luv ya, Court – always there to help. :)

    I understand the requirement – I still think the barriers are a costly waste (and a bit silly), as they don’t “prevent” anything the warning strips don’t. As another poster pointed out, you will never be able to fix “stupid” – and the visually impaired riders I have encountered on Metrolink handle getting on and off better than some fully sighted folks I have run into. I would have done the “yellow tactile warning strip” replacement LONG before I would have spent money on these barriers. But that’s just me.

  • mike

    RTBones.

    I continue to stand behind spending for safety purposes. I think a lot of people may appreciate their presence.

    I can come up with other examples of wasteful and silly ways of spending money, i.e. decorating the #99 and pretending they’re trolleys. I don’t know exactly how much was spent to decorate those buses, or for the barriers for that matter, but the image of operating these “trolleys” in the absence of real regular bus service east of Tucker Blvd., can cost our region by depriving our region of potential economic growth in the downtown core area. The nexus between the core downtown area and the outlying areas must be re-established

  • RTBones

    Mike,

    I hear you. I have no qualms with Metro trying to make Metrolink safer. I just think this is a very very silly way to do it. The same thing could be accomplished without these barriers by replacing the “rumble strips” on the platform edges. I have ridden a lot of metro systems around the country and around the world. I am hard pressed to come up with a developed system that uses barriers like this. (Note: I am sure someone can come up with several instances where this system is used. I’m not looking for an argument over effectivity or usage elsewhere.) What this says to me is that Metro is saying, “Public, you are stupid and do not know how to use a train platform, so we will put these poles in your way to guide you.” To my knowledge, there is no known issue with folks falling (or jumping) off of platforms in St. Louis – which already has tactile platform edges. This tells me the current system works. Yes, they are showing signs of weathering, but as Courtney has already pointed out in the link she posted for me, they are going to be refurbished / replaced – even brightened to a yellow color. Sorry, I just don’t get the poles.

    If you REALLY want to prevent folks from getting between cars – why not encase the track in a walled free-standing “tunnel” that only has openings for the doorways and windows. Train stops, “tunnel doors” open, train doors open. Lots of automated trains at airports use this system. At least one line in Paris (its automated), and the Westminster Tube stop (a stop on the London Underground that the UK wants secure) in London use this.

    Don’t get me started on the 99. LOL! My own distaste/dislike/disdain for that thing in its current incarnation is well documented.

  • RTBones

    EDIT: I said encase the track. I do not mean the ENTIRE track, just the track along the platforms. My apologies for the double post – no edit button.

  • mike

    RTBones

    Your comments are definitely well taken. I actually don’t agree with the poles as I implied in my previous comments. I would have rather seen Metro mount their trains with the type of barriers similar to the ones used in the Washington, DC Metro. They probably would have been cheaper to purchase and install..

    Your suggestion of encasing the doors and windows is a great idea. It also sounds like that idea could come with a pretty hefty price tag that Metro may not be willing to invest in.

  • nA

    I saw several seasoned train operators trying hard to stop the train at the right distance so that barriers are aligned. Sometimes it is frustrating….

  • RTBones

    Wouldn’t even have to “totally” encase the train at the platforms. Simple walls on the platform side with doors would do. I’m not advocating this solution, but it seems less silly than the yellow poles (and only a slightly smaller annoyance to the train drivers).

    Again, I am not knocking Metro for trying to make Metrolink safer. I just think these poles are a waste of hard-to-come-by cash resources and a silly idea that doesn’t accomplish anything not already handled by the rumble strips. Others have already said – there are much better things for Metro to spend their hard-fought-for money on, particularly when we have a system already in place (rumble strips on the platform edges) that accomplishes the same task.

    If you tell me these poles are actually going to stop (or are intended to stop) someone from climbing between the cars from the platform, I will tell you that you obviously live in the County. Or Kansas.