The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Jackson Heights Subway Platforms 'Excessively' Crowded, Advocates Say

By Katie Honan | October 23, 2014 7:25am
 The Roosevelt Avenue station is "dangerously" crowded during rush hour, riders say.
Subway Platforms Overcrowded as Ridership Breaks Record, Straphangers Say
View Full Caption

JACKSON HEIGHTS — The number of people taking the subway broke records in September, but riders may have reached their breaking point on overcrowded platforms and trains, especially in Queens, straphangers say.

Stats show 6,106,694 people rode the subways across the five boroughs on Tuesday, Sept. 23 — the highest ridership ever since the MTA began tallying figures in 1985.

It’s one of five record-breaking days in the month, with ridership on Sept. 18, Sept. 19, Sept. 17 and Sept. 10 breaking 6 million riders, according to the MTA.

The crowded stretch of days broke the previous record of 5,987,595 riders, which was set on Oct. 24, 2013.

The platform at the Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Avenue station — the second busiest in Queens with nearly 51,000 riders every day — is routinely packed during the early-morning rush as straphangers wait for the E, F, M and R trains.

Jason Chin-Fatt, a field organizer with the Straphangers Campaign, rides the F train from the station every morning and said the platforms are “excessively crowded,” especially if the 7 train, which is connected to the station along with several bus routes, isn’t working properly.

“It’s to the point that people are almost spilling over on to the tracks,” he said.

On Wednesday morning, subway riders were photographed standing just inches from the edge of the platform. They sometimes have nowhere to go after trying to cram into crowded trains.

Subway riders also routinely clog the stairs trying to get to the jammed platform below.

The fact that so many trains are accessed from the one platform also contributes to the congestion, he said, especially when people rush to transfer to a local from an express, and vice versa. 

"When train doors close because trains aren't waiting for other riders — that’s when people are waiting on the platform, which increases the crowding," Chin-Fatt said.

The station is the 16th busiest in the city, according to 2013 ridership numbers. The busiest station in Queens is the Flushing-Main Street station, but only the 7 train is accessed there.

A spokesman for the MTA, when sent a photo of overcrowding on Oct. 22, said it was due to signal problems.

"What I see in the photo is not typical of a normal morning at Roosevelt Avenue," he said. 

But over the past several months, DNAinfo photographed jammed subway platforms with subway riders standing very close to the edge.

The MTA spokesman said the Queens Boulevard line is scheduled to get CBTC, or Communications-Based Train Control, which will allow more trains to run, and reduce platform overcrowding. The timeline for the project was not immediately clear.

Ashish Patel, 20, who works in a candy shop in the station said "there's too many people on the platform."

"There's too many people running here," he said, referring to the passageway to the below-ground stations. 

Patel — who walks to work from his home nearby in Jackson Heights — said the platform is a “little dangerous” as riders push to get on trains.

How crowded is your subway platform? Let us know in the comments.