A little Green Line courtesy wouldn’t hurt

James McKenzie of St. Paul pens an awful story in today’s Star Tribune op-ed section about how a family that had boarded a Green Line train got separated recently.

My uncomplicated smugness over our new, 21st-century urban amenity turned to horror at what happened when we reached the Lexington Parkway station. I watched the family gather up its things and head for the door. But just after the first young child had exited onto the platform, one or two people pushed by, entering the car, and the doors closed. The father, still inside, groped around on the door, banging on it trying to open it as the train left the station, stranding his 5- or 6-year-old on the platform.

The mother raced to the front end of the car as if in search of a driver, but we were in the third and last car. Frantically looking about, she found a small emergency call box near the opposite door, pressed a button, and shouted something into it as the train rolled forward, now a block or more from the Lexington Station. “I can’t understand what you are saying,” a voice said back.

“Where are you?” the mother screamed into the little box, apparently not sure if the voice of authority was even on the train. There was no response.

What parent with kid in tow hasn’t imagined this scenario?

Presumably, the couple was reunited with their child.

McKenzie sees a technical solution to this problem:

But surely Metro Transit can devise some combination of technological connectivity, driver training and public education to make such events, if not impossible, at least far less likely.

There’s an easier, more efficient, and cheaper option. Don’t be such selfish, ill-mannered transit riders, Green Liners. Let a family get off a train before you shove against them trying to get on.

Disclosure: Minnesota Public Radio and the Metropolitan Council are negotiating ways to reduce noise and vibrations from the newly built light rail line outside MPR headquarters under a contract agreed to in 2009.