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Author Topic: Escalator pile-up injures 8 at Toronto commuter station
Canuckistan
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Story here.

quote:
At least eight people were hurt this morning in a rush-hour escalator mishap at Union Station.

Several people reportedly tumbled off a downward escalator in the GO train station shortly after 7:30 a.m., police and paramedics said.

Paramedics on the scene said many of the injuries were to the heads, necks and backs of the victims. One woman incurred "serious spinal injuries."



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Signora Del Drago
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I've always been nervous on an escalator. Now I know why. Hope those injured will all be okay.

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beaver_slayer
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To say that TTC does a poor job managing the city's public transit would be an understatement. The planning of the subway stations is awful; it is all too easy to foresee similar events happening at a number of downtown stations during rush hour.
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Canuckistan
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quote:
Originally posted by beaver_slayer:
To say that TTC does a poor job managing the city's public transit would be an understatement. The planning of the subway stations is awful; it is all too easy to foresee similar events happening at a number of downtown stations during rush hour.

The TTC would have little to do with this part of the platform, however. This is the part run by GO; it's separate from the Union Station escalators.

At least, that's the indication the story gives. I see nothing to indicate that it was in the subway portion of Union; that they closed off part of Bay St., instead of Front St. (where the subway entrance is), indicates that further.

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People need to stop appropriating Jesus as their reason for behaving badly. It's so irritating. (Avril)

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beaver_slayer
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Canuckistan

The TTC would have little to do with this part of the platform, however. This is the part run by GO; it's separate from the Union Station escalators.

Yep, that's fair. However, I'm afraid to think about what could happen in case of fire at some of the downtown stations like Wellesley. They seem to have less escalators/stairs than an average condo building.

And, BTW, TTC, you owe me CAD 15 for the cab today - all thanks to your subway closure.

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black roses 19
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quote:
I've always been nervous on an escalator. Now I know why. Hope those injured will all be okay.
Me too. I remember being really little in the middle of a crowded mall SCREAMING at the top of my lungs because my mom and dad went up the escalator without me. I swear, everyone in that mall thought I was abused.

Some stranger had to pick me up and hold me while he rode up the escalator with me to deliver me to my parents.

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Canuckistan
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quote:
Originally posted by beaver_slayer:
Yep, that's fair. However, I'm afraid to think about what could happen in case of fire at some of the downtown stations like Wellesley. They seem to have less escalators/stairs than an average condo building.

I agree, it could be a problem. It was in London before.

But I don't think we need to panic about it. It's a hazard of the medium, I guess, but overall, it's still much safer than, say, walking on the street.

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People need to stop appropriating Jesus as their reason for behaving badly. It's so irritating. (Avril)

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Victoria J
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An earlier fear cannot have been caused by this accident ! It is possible to argue that evidence that escalators can hurt people shows that the fear was not irrational - but I don't even know that this is true. Without any concrete example it would seem to be sensible to be a little bit wary of an escalator or any other large piece of machinery. However being scared of them remains pretty irrational given the number of people who safely use escalators each day.

As a pathetic arachnaphobe (in a country with no dangerous native spiders) I am not judging those with irrational fears. But as an unrelenting pedant I cannot accept the justification. [Wink]

quote:
Originally posted by Canuckistan:
quote:
Originally posted by beaver_slayer:
Yep, that's fair. However, I'm afraid to think about what could happen in case of fire at some of the downtown stations like Wellesley. They seem to have less escalators/stairs than an average condo building.

I agree, it could be a problem. It was in London before.

But I don't think we need to panic about it. It's a hazard of the medium, I guess, but overall, it's still much safer than, say, walking on the street.

I don't think you can really link the Kings Cross Fire to a general danger in lack of stairs/escalators in transit systems. The problem was quite specific - old fashioned wooden escalators which where themselves flammable.

Following that fire they removed all similar escalators from the London underground system.

Oddly Kings Cross has just had yet another renovation (which is also linked I think to bringing the Channel tunnel trains into St Pancras just next door - they have dug up half of London for the rail links and the changes in that area is HUGE)and I noticed recently that the memorial clock to those who died in the fire has been moved to a new space. And a couple of weeks ago was covered by a taped up piece of paper on which was scrawled "not working".

Victoria J

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Canuckistan
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quote:
I don't think you can really link the Kings Cross Fire to a general danger in lack of stairs/escalators in transit systems. The problem was quite specific - old fashioned wooden escalators which where themselves flammable.
I was getting at fire in subway stations being potentially problematic in general. And the station beaver_slayer mentions really does have one set of stairs and one escalator for the exit. That's it. He's quite right that in the event of a fire, it would likely be very difficult to evacuate.

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People need to stop appropriating Jesus as their reason for behaving badly. It's so irritating. (Avril)

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Malruhn
The "Was on Sale" Song


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I'm sorry for being insensitive, but I can't help from envisioning this like a huge, massively-slow-speed accident. Escalators move SLOOOOWWWWWLLLLYYYY, and I can just see someone going, "OOOOoooooohhhhh, nnnnnnnoooooooo!" and falling over in slow motion, followed by person after person in exaggerated slow motion terror.

And then I laugh my ass off.

Sorry. [lol]

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Canuckistan
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They actually don't, Malruhn. They move fairly quickly. And these escalators are jammed during rush hour. Union Station handles tens of thousands of people every morning and every afternoon. When you get on an escalator, you pray no one in front of you tumbles, because you won't be able to get out of the way. You'll fall, too, as will the people behind you.

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People need to stop appropriating Jesus as their reason for behaving badly. It's so irritating. (Avril)

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Faith
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quote:
And the station beaver_slayer mentions really does have one set of stairs and one escalator for the exit. That's it. He's quite right that in the event of a fire, it would likely be very difficult to evacuate.
Blimey, that IS awful. Really? No emergency exits anywhere else. I'm amazed. I guess in theory, people could escape onto trains but that's a panic situation I'm sure we'd all shudder to imagine.

Incidentally, I'm sure there's at least one wooden escalator left on the LU but I can't remember which station. I'll google around and add it in if I find it.

ETA: Aha! Greenford station

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Canuckistan
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A number of stations in the Toronto subway system are built to 1950s standards. There are some being upgraded, but it's a slow, slow process.

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People need to stop appropriating Jesus as their reason for behaving badly. It's so irritating. (Avril)

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beaver_slayer
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Faith

Blimey, that IS awful. Really? No emergency exits anywhere else. I'm amazed. I guess in theory, people could escape onto trains but that's a panic situation I'm sure we'd all shudder to imagine.

Yes, it is awful. Considering the fact that I came from Kiev, where metro (subway) lines are way, way more jammed than the ones in Toronto (with the comparable length of the line it moves the amount of passangers totalling to the whole city population twice a day), I can't nearly understand why the stations are that hard to get into. The old subway system (which would include the whole downtown section of stations) is designed with Toronto being 10 times smaller in mind. When I say that it has less bandwidht than an average condo building I really mean it. The one thing that saves Wellesley is that it really has no purpose and so few people actually use it - it is just stuck in the residential area and I believe that you can walk to the next station either way on the same line in 10 minutes or so. Plus I can't think of any major buildings that would be close to Wellesley. Downtown stations like King (financial district) are much more packed, and I think it is going to get only worse as half of my coworkers use GO transit (trains) to get to downtown. I pray our condo-greedy mo... elected representatives do not opt to remove the lakeshore highway to make an "esplanade" instead.

As far as escalators go I don't think that they are a problem per ce. A short set of stairs is definitely better; however, if the depth of the station is in the 20+ metres range you don't really have a choise.

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Simply Madeline
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The article says that the cause of the accident is unknown, but it wouldn't surprise me to hear that it was at least partially due to someone pausing once they got off the escalator.

Please, people, DO NOT stop at the bottom or the top of an escalator. The people behind you cannot stop and will smack right into you. This is particularly dangerous in a train station/airport/transit stop, where the escalators tend to be fast-moving.

This is my public service announcement for the day.

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zerocool
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My question for people in the US:

Why do so many people stand in the walking lane of the escalator? Or more importantly, does that concept even exist? I know in europe people will yell at you if you stand on the left side, but quite often here escalators are blocked by people standing still!

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Delta-V
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quote:
Originally posted by zerocool:
Why do so many people stand in the walking lane of the escalator? Or more importantly, does that concept even exist? I know in europe people will yell at you if you stand on the left side, but quite often here escalators are blocked by people standing still!

I don't think the concept exists here, for the most part. In fact, walking up/down escalators is discouraged. You'll definitly get dirty looks if you bump people while doing it.

According to The Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation:
quote:
Escalator steps are not the correct height for normal walking and should not be used in that manner.


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"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

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Canuckistan
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Conversely, here, the TTC does ask people to walk left, stand right -- even has signs to the effect.

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People need to stop appropriating Jesus as their reason for behaving badly. It's so irritating. (Avril)

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Brad from Georgia
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In the Detroit airport, which has a weird tunnel apparently left over from a James Bond movie, there are all these moving sidewalks with a stand lane and a walk lane. Mrs. from Georgia and I were booking it along the walk lane of one of them, me in the lead, when a little kid ahead of us suddenly decided to run in the opposite direction of the slidewalk's movement, apparently to see if he could remain in one spot by expending a lot of energy. He was staring so intently at his feet that he whirled around and ran right into me.

My cousin from Alabama was once trapped for two hours between floors in the Atlanta airport when there was a power failure and the escalator stopped moving.

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qualli
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I loathe escalators. For a very, very, very long time I would spend 10 minute hunting down a elevator rather than ride the Stairs of Death.

I have big feet, bad balance, and I'm not to sure I trust the balance of the person is in front of me.

Last year actualy, for the first time, I went up the escalator at Barnes and Noble without being emberrased or guilted into it. Yes, I did demand to pick out a book as a pressie for that. [Smile]

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Simply Madeline
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quote:
Originally posted by zerocool:
My question for people in the US:

Why do so many people stand in the walking lane of the escalator? Or more importantly, does that concept even exist?

Gah! Walking through O'Hare last night, I encountered this. There are signs everywhere saying "Walk Left/Stand Right", but people just ignore them.

It drives SO crazy when people stand on the left hand side of the escalators (particularly at el stations, for some reason). He starts muttering, "it's not a ride, folks.

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Faith
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Delta-V:
Escalator steps are not the correct height for normal walking and should not be used in that manner

The sentence you quoted is describing escalators that are temporarily out of order and is meant as a warning not to consider stalled escalators as a default set of stairs without additional consideration.

The rest of the article makes this quite clear:

link
quote:
MYTH: If an escalator is standing still, it is just a set of stairs.
TRUTH: Not at all! Escalator steps are not the correct height for normal walking and should not be used in that manner. The risk of tripping and falling is increased.



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Brad from Georgia
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quote:
Originally posted by Faith:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Delta-V:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by zerocool:
[qb]Why do so many people stand in the walking lane of the escalator? Or more importantly, does that concept even exist? I know in europe people will yell at you if you stand on the left side, but quite often here escalators are blocked by people standing still!

I don't think the concept exists here, for the most part. In fact, walking up/down escalators is discouraged. You'll definitly get dirty looks if you bump people while doing it.

According to The Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation:
quote:
Escalator steps are not the correct height for normal walking and should not be used in that manner.


[Jasper voice]Escalator's not for normal walkin'. Escalator's for fancy walkin'.[/Jasper voice]

ETA: By the way, the hell is that thing being hit by a bus at the top of the page? A giant penguin? A nun disguised as a Blues Brother? What?

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Faith
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Thanks for immortalising my horrendous coding for the ages there, Brad! I thought I'd be able to fix it before anyone got there but noooo.... [Embarrassed]

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Victoria J
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quote:
Originally posted by Faith:

Incidentally, I'm sure there's at least one wooden escalator left on the LU but I can't remember which station. I'll google around and add it in if I find it.

ETA: Aha! Greenford station

I stand corrected. [Smile] I'm also slightly shocked that there is still one in use.

Victoria J

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Delta-V
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quote:
Originally posted by Faith:
quote:
Originally posted by Delta-V:
Escalator steps are not the correct height for normal walking and should not be used in that manner

The sentence you quoted is describing escalators that are temporarily out of order and is meant as a warning not to consider stalled escalators as a default set of stairs without additional consideration.

The rest of the article makes this quite clear:

link
quote:
MYTH: If an escalator is standing still, it is just a set of stairs.
TRUTH: Not at all! Escalator steps are not the correct height for normal walking and should not be used in that manner. The risk of tripping and falling is increased.


So you're saying that although it's not safe to walk up/down a stationary escalator, it is safe to do so when the escalator is moving? The paragraph does not exclude moving escalators, it just states they should not be used for walking.

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Richard W
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Maybe US escalators are a slightly different design? Although the steps on escalators here are higher than normal steps, too, and we have the "Stand on left, walk on right" protocol. I've never seen any suggestion that walking up an escalator is dangerous.

I guess Americans are just less good at climbing steps than Canadians or Europeans.

Actually, perhaps the notice is just telling you to lift your feet up. You can't use "normal walking" to get up any staircase, or you'd trip over the first step...

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stalker
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Victoria J:
quote:
Originally posted by Faith:

Incidentally, I'm sure there's at least one wooden escalator left on the LU but I can't remember which station. I'll google around and add it in if I find it.

ETA: Aha! Greenford station

I stand corrected. [Smile] I'm also slightly shocked that there is still one in use.

Victoria J

I guess it's just because it's above ground*.

I'm sure there's more than that that have wooden components. I've never been to that particular station but I've definitely walked on escalators with wooden grooves (or the raised bits in between that make the grooves, what are they called?) instead of metal ones.

* ETA: I am still also shocked though!

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Gibbie
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I think most US public transportation escalators employ the stand right walk left protocol. Washington's Metro has signs to that effect even though they much prefer you just stand still and ride. And they really have to promote standing don't they? If you're walking along a moving escalator, trip and fall and get caught by the bottom grate and horribly mangled, they don't want you to be able to point and them and say "well Metro said I could walk!" Probably the same thing with the escalator safety people.

Me I tend to stand to the right and hold on tight. I'm a horrendous klutz and have been known to trip and fall over my own feet.

Oh and Brad, I love that tunnel in Detroit. It's so 70's and cool. [Smile]

Gibbie

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