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A bit late: State removes the stairs at JFK/UMass that a BU professor plunged to his death through

The Dorchester Reporter reports state workers this weekend removed the stairs with the large gap next to the JFK/UMass T stop, a week after a BU professor died there.

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Comments

Government efficiency.

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Usually road intersections require more than one death to prompt a redesign. Yeah.

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when you learn about product safety commissions and the role of recalls. Heck, Vioxx killed something like 88000 people before the private company selling it (Merck) had to take it off the market.

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But they had fences up blocking the stairs and signs saying they were closed. It was daytime and it was obvious that some of the steps were missing. A logical person would probably assume that the steps were unsafe and shouldn't be used. It seems they took reasonable measures to discourage use of the unsafe stairs.

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The barricades at the bottom of the stairs could have been easily moved by someone else from before the professor had arrived. The signs said the stairs would be closed until a date in the past.

I have no idea what happened but it's not clear the professor climbed over the barricades or should have expected the stair he was on to give way.

If it was that unsafe it really should have been removed shortly after it was closed to the public or at least blocked by something beyond an easy-to-move temporary fence.

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I'll agree with you there.

But. Looking at the pictures from months ago and from after the accident, it would appear that the step(s) which failed when the professor died were adjacent to the already-missing steps. And the fact that several steps were already missing would have noticeable from the second landing. And the fencing at the top was still in place so it's not as if the stairs could be used to access Columbia Rd.

It feels more like a smart person decided to engage in a bit of urban exploration with tragic consequences.

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I ride the red line everyday to work. I usually get off at Savin hill but when I get to Downtown Crossing and it’s a Braintree train, I get off at JFK. Those stairs were blocked off for a long time but months ago, sometime around March or April someone cut the fence and people have been using those stairs ever since. It’s a real hassle to walk all the way around and those stairs were a great cut-thru. I have seen numerous people use it even though it had all the signs that it was closed. He was just the unlucky person that it finally gave out on.

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That is the info I was looking for. I knew someone had to know. If it’s true then heads ought to roll.

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If only you or someone else had reported the vandalized fence to the state...

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Google Street View from November 2020 shows at least four steps completely missing between the upper landing and the Columbia Rd bridge. Were people pulling themselves up/down on the handrails?

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Yes, last I was there, people were holding on and taking a giant step.

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Do those folks try to walk across the SE Expressway at rush hour, too?

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That would be the time to do it. Everyone is stopped.

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These stairs should have been thoroughly and permanently blocked off or torn down, but to jump over the missing stairs gap is a fucking death wish.
So many mistakes by so many people in this situation. Mind blowing.

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Charlie Baker did run a healthcare system, why would be expect anything better?

The sad thing is that nothing will come of this and he'll skate by because it's not like the DCR and the T report to him or anything.

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You get what less than half of the percentage of eligible people who bothered with the initial sign-up voted for.

Go look up the turnout that got Ted Cruz reelected.

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"Government efficiency" is the government rushing to remove a set of stairs that is now so unusable that it is not a danger to anyone. Meanwhile, government appears to have no plan to install replacement stairs, which is proven to be wanted by the public and not terribly expensive.

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Horses and barn doors

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The fact that there's more than one horse.

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There was a crew just finishing the removal around 7:30am Sunday. As I drove by, I thought that those guys must've worked overnight.
I can remember them being blocked off, I'm wondering if the barriers had been vandalized or just fell apart from the elements. There were stairs clearly missing.
A sad, tragic story.

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To summarize, stairs were not actually blocked off, and locals were regularly using them for a shortcut.

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No, the stairs were blocked off at the top with a concrete barrier on the sidewalk, fencing on top of the barrier, and signs on the fence. People must've climbed over the barrier and broke the fence.
I have no idea what was at the bottom beyond what has been shown in various photos.

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No. You are being directly contradicted by actual witnesses in this thread who used this station everyday.

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There are varying thresholds for "blocked". One threshold is blocked to point of being impenetrable. Another threshold is blocked enough to be obvious.

Some people believe the low threshold should be enough. If the professor broke that, then it's completely his fault for taking a risk. Other people believe that if the state didn't meet the high threshold, then the state deserves blame.

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This (again, talking about the top of the stairs) was considerably beyond "obvious". A concrete barrier, definitely wider than the opening, a fence on top of the barrier, and sign explaining why it was there.
I wouldn't call it "impenetrable", but - it couldn't be missed, it couldn't be walked around or ignored, it couldn't have accidentally bypassed. It could only have been properly installed or removed by equipment like a loader or a forklift. It could have been broken by less, but only by some concerted effort. It wouldn't have been like ripping down yellow tape or moving cones - it would have been a person (or people) pushing, pulling, maybe even prying with tools; for a while until it broke.

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In November 2020 there was a concrete block at the top of the stairs.

I will contradict other posters on one point. These stairs, when the station is open, are superfluous. Yes, it made sense before the station was remodeled in the 1980s, but today you can enter the station from Columbia Road and take the stairs down to the busway without passing the fare gates. The only possible use for the stairs would be for the people at the Mary Ellen MacCormack, but even they could use the crosswalk at the Kosciuszko Rotary. Still safer than jumping over missing steps.

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I'm looking at Google Maps, and I'm not clear how someone is supposed to get from the plaza outside the T Station to Columbia Rd without those stairs. Can you go through the station?

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You can enter the station entrance a few feet away on the other side of the tracks, go down the bridge, and across the other bridge across the tracks. You can also walk down the sidewalk, across a bunch of crosswalks, and back under Morrissey.

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