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Reader Mail: Blind Man Saved by N Judah Riders

Yesterday was BloggerDay, I think. First, I attended a blogger call with Assemblymember Fiona Ma (with the Examiner's Melissa Griffin and others), then later on attended an event at SPUR which focused on local blogging. Panelists were Burrito Justice, Mission Local, What I'm Seeing and Streetsblog, and I got to meet in person many awesome people, including folks from MUNI Diaries, SF Appeal, SFist, MissionMission my neighbors Julie and Megan, and more!

Little did I know, that while we were listening to speakers discuss blogging and local life, some real-life drama was happening on the N. Reader Jeremy sent me this note which I got last night:

Hi,

I'm not sure who to report this to or how frequent events like this happen, but this evening at about 8pm we had a close call on the N-Judah at Van Ness station when a blind man exited the train and proceeded to fall in the not insignificant space between the 2 cars, and onto the tracks.

I was a passenger at the front of the second car, and was standing on the train near the door. Someone on the platform saw the man fall, and went to try to help rescue him before the train began moving. I hadn't seen the man fall and all I could see was the helper person standing above the space between the 2 cars. I stood in the doorway of the train to prevent the door from closing.

There was a bit of confusion inside the train as one man told me to get out of the doorway (of course he didn't know what was going on). As we began to figure out that someone had fallen, another man radioed up to the conductor. A woman on the platform apparently ran up to the front of the train and banged on the window of the conductor. People on the platform managed to pull the blind man up to the platform.

Eventually the conductor came over, asked the man if he was okay, and then the conductor jumped down between the trains to recover the blind man's walking stick.

Obviously a happy ending, but a close call. Who knows what would have happened if things went a little differently?

I think at a time when the news has been full of the delinquents and criminals and overall Bad People amongst us, it is nice to hear a story of our fellow citizens who are the good people, doing something positive to help out. Bravo to the N riders and MUNI personnel who helped out and prevented a tragedy.

Comments

This happens ALL THE TIME, and it's crazy that nothing being done about it. The problem is that when you're feeling for an entrance with a cane, the gap between trains can feel like a doorway.

I covered two instances of these kinds of falls back when I wrote the Muni Payout series for SFist, here and here.

Years ago, Muni put up soft-hit posts to stop blind riders from falling between trains, but the state made them remove them since they were not approved, or some garbage like that.

Oh, my links got stripped out. Oh well. You google Muni Payout SFist Blind to find the two instances I wrote about.

Uh ... apparently the sentence-formulating part of my brain is not working so well tonight. Add the word "is" to my first comment, "can" to the second, and "third" to the.

This is one of those things that drives me nuts about gov't and society in general. It's common sense to make the system safe for blind passengers, but there's no way to make MUNI do something unless they get sued by a bunch of lawyers, and , as Matt points out, MUNI did something about it, but then the state told them not to and they had to stop fixing the problem.

Now all we can do is either have a bunch of people sue and collect money (which could be used to make it safe for everyone) or have MUNI pay out damages directly when someone gets hurt.

Why, oh why, are things like this a f*cking Gordian Knot around here?

Hmm I don't know why the links got stripped out...here I'll redo 'em for ya

http://sfist.com/2007/08/20/august_muni_pay.php

and

http://sfist.com/2007/04/16/april_muni_payout_part_two_33275.php

just got back from BA and this story reminded me of their subte
they have paths that lead blind people through a subte station from the turnstile to the train, including braille paragraphs on hand rests along the way to instruct in detail.

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