New LIRR Public Awareness Campaign Aimed At Golf Fans Headed to U.S. Open

The U.S. Open golf tournament is scheduled to be played on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park on June 15-21, 2009. The LIRR is posting ads at stations and in newspapers, making extra announcements and distributing fliers telling riders to watch the gap between train doors and the station platform. Although New Yorkers can hear the announcements to watch the gap in their sleep, the LIRR is concerned that the many out-of-towners who come to attend the golf tournament will not be aware of the problem.

Newsday has reported that an investigation by the newspaper found that there were more than 800 gap accidents from 1995 to early 2007. Fliers will be distributed at Penn, Farmingdale, Mineola and Hicksville stations. Extra trains are being provided to the LIRR’s Farmingdale Station (where no parking is available). The LIRR transported more than 165,000 people to and from the last Open at Bethpage in 2002.

The dangers posed by the gaps first gained attention after the 2006 death of Minnesotan Natalie Smead after she fell into a 7 7/8-inch gap at the Woodside station. A $1.5 million settlement had been reached in a wrongful death lawsuit. Some of the stations where gap accidents are more prevalent include Jamaica, Flushing Main Street, Penn Station, Hicksville, Mineola, Syosset, Huntington, Ronkonkoma, Long Beach, and Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn.

Some interesting statistics posted on Newsday’s website:

  • Gap-related accidents in 2008: 117
  • Gap-related accidents in 2007: 175
  • Gap-related accidents in 2006: 129
  • Total cost of LIRR’s gap-remediation project: $20.7 million.
  • Spent so far: $12.2 million
  • Train cars fitted with metal “threshold plates” to bridge gaps in 2008: 86
  • Train cars to be fitted with “threshold plates” in 2009: 672
  • Linear feet of 1-inch edgeboard installed on station platforms in 2008: 41,610
  • Linear feet of 1-inch edgeboard to be installed on station platforms in 2009: 55,743

Security tips posted on the MTAs LIRR website are: Spectators, volunteers and staff will not be allowed on the shuttle buses or through an Admission Gate with any of the items listed below. People bringing these items to the station will be required to wait on an additional line in order to leave these items at a security station. Neither the LIRR or the USGA will be responsible for personal items left at the security station. You are therefore strongly urged not to bring any of these items on your trip.

Please be sure to read the following list of prohibited items carefully:

  • No Cell Phones (including cell phones with photographic capabilities)
  • No PDAs and/or other Portable Email Devices
  • No Noise Producing Electronic Devices (including MP3 Players)
  • No Cameras and/or Camcorders (other than Monday to Wednesday for personal non-commercial photographic use only and without their cases)
  • No Bags larger than 8W X 8H X 8D in their natural state
  • No Cases and/or Covers (such as chair or umbrella covers)
  • No Signs, Posters and/or Banners
  • No Televisions and/or Radios unless provided by the USGA
  • No Food and/or Beverages
  • No Containers and/or Coolers
  • No Pets (other than service animals)
  • No Lawn and/or Folding Armchairs
  • No Bicycles
  • No Ladders and/or Step-Stools or other similar items
  • No Metal-spiked Golf Shoes
  • No Weapons (regardless of permit, including but not limited to, firearms or knives)
  • No other items deemed unlawful or dangerous by the USGA and/or Championship Security Personnel, in their sole discretion.

The lawyers at Levine & Slavit have decades of experience getting results for our clients who have sustained personal injuries in accidents. We have offices in Manhattan and Long Island, handling cases in New York City, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and surrounding areas. To learn more, contact the personal injury lawyers at Levine & Slavit for their help, or watch our videos.

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