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Dupont Metro entrances both open

Update 7:10p.m.: Both entrances to Dupont are now open, according to Metro.

Update 6:30p.m.: The Post's Ann Scott Tyson is on the scene, and Dupont Circle Station is filled with smoke, but is still open, with firemen attempting to direct confused crowds and train announcers telling people to either use the 19th Street exit or take a train to a different station.

Update 6:05p.m.: Dupont's north entrance is closed, but that hasn't stopped a mob of people from climbing up a blocked-off escalator, then jumping across a handrail to exit. Trains are still moving and Metro has not reported delays, but shuttle service to Farragut North has been requested.

A video from Twitter user "jaredev" is a fitting bookend to this morning's video of people barreling their way up the broken-down escalators:

Update 5:47p.m.: If Metro has attempted to rectify the situation that saw all three long escalators at Dupont Circle's north entrance out of service during the morning rush, their efforts appear to have fallen flat. Just in time for the evening rush, one of those escalators may be, well, on fire.

Smoke has been sighted coming from the north entrance of the station, apparently from electrical machinery associated with the escalators, a fire official said. No word yet from Metro on service interruptions, but the 19th Street entrance is a safer bet if you're using Dupont tonight.

Original post: At the tail end of the rush hour, Metro sent an alert that all escalators at Dupont's north entrance--the very long ones--were out... and Metro's escalator outage page reports that as of now, two out of three escalators on the south side are out, too.

That's an 80 percent failure rate at a peak ridership time at one of the busiest stations on Metro's busiest line, and beyond inconvenience, the situation degenerated into chaos.

A video posted to Twitter (below) by user "wfpman" shows people shouting and a lone Metro employee struggling to perform crowd control as masses of people are backed up in the mezzanine, unable to exit, while people coming down both escalators struggle against those trying to walk up. The stairs appear entirely unused--they may have been blocked off, too. (What look like "stairs" in the video are actually the underbelly of an escalator undergoing major repairs.)

Depending on Escalators | The ups and downs of Metro |
Metro brings in escalator consultant | Outages

By Luke Rosiak  | July 12, 2010; 6:05 PM ET
Categories:  Metro, Red Line  | Tags:  Escalators  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Relief not easy to find
Next: Headaches on the horizon

Comments

when i exited at Q street around 8:45, there was one escalator going down and then two broken escalators. i will never understand why, in this situation, the station manager does not switch the one functional escalator to go UP instead of DOWN. helloooooo!!!!

the one positive is that this was not at bethesda!

Posted by: nativetexan2 | July 12, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

... and they just raised the fares ... and the Council of Governments (or the legislative body of Metro) just gave them a grant. Why is Metro gouging (verb used without object ...) us like this?

Posted by: gordonj1 | July 12, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

The entire Metro system is broken and run by a bunch of incompetent idiots. It doesn't make any difference who they install as a General Manager. The incompetence will remain and it goes all the way down to the lowest person on the totem pole. Just look at who are on the payroll and the reason why will be obvious.

Posted by: dcborn1 | July 12, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

The escalators at Capitol South frequently break down. Sometimes I've had to walk down the non-working escalator or cement stetps. The fix one and a short tinme later, another one breaks down.

Posted by: davinp-28 | July 12, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I recently had the opportunity to ride the "L" in Chicago a few times and I immediately noticed there are no escalators to their platforms. Stairs only. One way to save money for metro is to get rid of escalators altogether. It's truly ridiculous how just about everything metro touches is a total failure.

Posted by: Ellvee | July 12, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I mostly agree with Ellvee. NYC doesn't have a lot of esclators either, but it's not as deep. For the deepest stations, the escalators are warranted. But Metro could conserve resources by shutting down and eventually replacing with stairs the many shorter escalators (esp those between the mezzanine and platform). Then maybe their maintenance staff could be more responsive when repairs were needed on the smaller number of remaining escalators.

Posted by: jescowa | July 12, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

If the *elevators* are out, I get angry because handicapped people lose access to the system. When people complain about the *escalators* being out, I get angry at how fat and lazy our country has become. JUST WALK! It's how people successfully changed elevations for centuries before the escalator was invented. Get off your lazy butt and burn a calorie or two!

Posted by: hill_guy | July 12, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

@Ellvee: I would agree with you, but a recent report (I can't find out now) found that converting escalators to stairs on Metro would be extremely expensive. Even considering the frequency of escalator breakdowns on the Metro system, it would take something like 20 or 30 years for Metro to recoup the costs of each escalator conversion.

Posted by: trossc | July 12, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I think Metro mishandled this situation in just about every way possible. First, the alert message was not sent until at least 20 minutes after the incident began, so I had no warning/information when I got off at Dupont. Seeing the chaos at the 19th Street exit (the one I usually use), I walked over to the Q Street exit only to discover those escalators were out of service too. The down escalator was working and should have been switched to go up. I'm sure that would have been messy, but isn't (unexpectedly) forcing hundreds of people to walk up one of the longest escalators in the system worse?

There's a high local unemployment rate; why can't metro find competent staff?

Posted by: kc20008 | July 12, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

dcborn1 - I'm sure you'll be called a racist shortly. Welcome to America in 2010.

Posted by: johnfchick1 | July 12, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I agree with jescowa: They should replace the mezzanine-to-platform escalators with stairs.

But I think we need to keep most of the longer ones - not only to serve those who are not able to easily get up stairs - but also because it makes the entire crowd of people move faster. The video from Dupont Cirlce clearly shows how much slower it is when everyone has to walk. Maybe there could be a compromise as there is at the Friendship Heights short escalator: they have one up escalator, one down escalator, and a staircase in between them (again, I'm referring to the short escalators at the Western Avenue exit, not the long escalators).

Posted by: informedtraveller | July 12, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

@hill_guy: Would agree in most cases (i.e., almost all platform-to-mezz. escalators, which should be stairs), but there are some escalators in the system (e.g., Rosslyn, Wheaton, the ones in question at Dupont) that are among the longest in the world, and a rough hike for anyone not in pretty good shape.

Posted by: HowdyDCU | July 12, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

hill_guy,
Not all people can walk the ENTIRE flight of the escalator. I've seen people (who are THIN AND CAN'T DO IT!!! so leave obese people alone!!) get yelled at if they need to stop halfway down or up. I personally get vertigo from long flights of escalators/stairs and can't do the whole thing without the threat of falling from dizziness.

Posted by: sigmagrrl | July 12, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

May be Metro people are confused that elevator/escalator suppose to "elevate" people and not being used as a ladder. I wonder Metro management understood that abstract concept. What a bunch of morons!

Posted by: drkly | July 12, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

The head of Metro's Elevator and Escalator division is still employed, why?

Posted by: ceebee2 | July 12, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Beam me up Scotty!! I'm at the bottom of the escalump, at the Dupont Circle Metro.

Posted by: bronxace | July 12, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Metro doesn't have the same ADA exceptions that the much older Chicago and NYC systems do, so it has provide escalators and non-stair access for the handicapped. Given how frequently the elevators are out, especially if people with strollers and baggage had to use them along with the elderly and the handicapped, Metro would effectively be violating the ADA if it tore out its escalators or simply made them into "walkers." A class action suit would be filed almost immediately.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | July 12, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, I used to be a big proponent of Metro and took it everywhere I could. I even went "car free" for a numbers of years. Ah, the good old days.

Now, Metro cannot make it three days without a major, commute debilitating incident. And the escalators are a joke. Where did they get these things? Ex-Soviet surplus?

Metro needs only to do three things:
1. Get people moved between stations quickly.
2. Get people in and out of stations quickly.
3. Provide a safe environment for doing 1 and 2 above.

Posted by: traderdad37 | July 12, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Dupont Circle is one of the stations that's down too deep to not have upward escalators.

I think a fairly young man died of heart attack going up on broken one a few years ago.

And yes that middle bank is a escalater that's turned off and must've been blocked.

Posted by: Georgetwoner | July 12, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

@ Ellvee - The distance between the street to the platform in Chicago is a lot shorter than in DC where the platforms are generally 3+ stories below the surface. I can see I see improvements to the Metro system by them adding the canopies over the escalators. I always thought it was stupid to expose the escalators to the elements.

Posted by: nupshawjr | July 12, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Metro: EPIC FAIL!!!!!

No wonder I ride MARC rail!

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Yeagh!

Posted by: bs2004 | July 12, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

@traderdad...apparently Metro's escalator production company went out of business in the early 1990's...so you may be onto something with your Soviet surplus comment.

Posted by: dc1020008 | July 12, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

"I think a fairly young man died of heart attack going up on broken one a few years ago."

That happened on a broken escalator at Bethesda. The Post did a story on that, and you should have read all the nasty comments about the "fat pig", etc. My recollection is that the guy wasn't obese, but had some kind of congenital heart problem that he wasn't aware of (the autopsy discovered it).

Posted by: WashingtonDame | July 12, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Dupont Circle is one of those particularly insidious stations for the handicapped...no elevators.

Thanks again Jimmy Carter!

Posted by: Over-n-Out | July 12, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Don't go bad-mouthing those Soviet escalators. The only place in the world with longer escalators than WMATA is the Moscow Subway and their escalators don't break down like ours. Of course, when the Russians send somebody off for "re-education" it is quite different than what WMATA does.

Posted by: oak07022010 | July 12, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

The reality is that both New York and London manage to have the escalators working at their busiest and deepest stations. There is no way that you could do without escalators at stations like dupont- rosslyn- or some of the other really deep ones. If the metro system would focus on keeping those working it would be something.

What happened to covering the stations? That was done at the Dupont South exit but never at the north side which is actually the longer escalator.

It is truly unconsionable that every few days one or two of the escalators are out and being fixed. I would assume that if we can get a man to the moon we should be able to fix an escalator and have it running for more than three days at a time.

Posted by: peterdc | July 12, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm telling you guys, WMATA has an escalator modernization program and it is succeeding:
http://www.gannettfleming.com/newsroom/2006/WMATA-ElevatorWorld03-2006.pdf

Proof that putting somebody in charge, spending a lot of money and having a comprehensive program does not always result in success. Sigh.

Posted by: oak07022010 | July 12, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Fat has nothing to do with not being able to climb stairs. People heart issues, asthmatics, etc. The problem is METRO INCOMPETENCE - not the riders.

Posted by: Libramom | July 12, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

So for all of you people saying "Just Walk" how many of you use the stairs instead of elevators? How many stories down is the Rosslyn station?

Posted by: Aerowaz | July 12, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

So for all of you people saying "Just Walk" how many of you use the stairs instead of elevators? How many stories down is the Rosslyn station?

Posted by: Aerowaz | July 12, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

This happens so often on Metro that one could argue that it is no longer news. I am met with a broken/out of service escalator nearly every day on my commute from VA to DC.

Posted by: Iamimpartialobserver | July 12, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Peg pay for Metro management, maintenance, station masters, etc. to MERIT.

When there is a breakdown of equipment, if they just sit on their lazy non-accountable butts and do nothing, reduce their pay a set amount per day!

Amazing how loss of wages wakes up lazy people.

Posted by: cibor | July 12, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

There is at least one escalator moving down and one moving up at this time (2:14 pm).

Isn't everyone so happy the fare hike is getting the riders better service?

Posted by: dahozho | July 12, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

@dcborn1

"The entire Metro system is broken and run by a bunch of incompetent idiots. It doesn't make any difference who they install as a General Manager. The incompetence will remain and it goes all the way down to the lowest person on the totem pole. Just look at who are on the payroll and the reason why will be obvious."

I know what you're getting at. As a Black man, I must admit to being embarrassed by the "employer of last resort" mentality at Metro. Seems like anyone can get hired and no one can be fired. The bus driver arbitration cases reported last month - one of which involved a careless bus driver who killed someone and was reinstated with back pay - is a case in point.

Metro is why I drive and why I constantly lament, "we gave the nation's best-planned urban highway network for THIS?'

Posted by: ceefer66 | July 12, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

We gave up the nation's best-planned urban highway network for THIS?

Posted by: ceefer66 | July 12, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I walk up the escalator at the Q St. entrance every weekday and most Saturdays...y'all, it's not the same as taking regular stairs. The escalator steps are higher than regular steps, so you have to exert more energy to do take each step. I can even walk up a stopped escalator without needing to take a break, but it's really, really not the same as taking a flight (or three flights) of normal stairs.

Even people who are used to walking/running up regular stairs sometimes get a little winded by the longer Metro escalators, because they don't take into account the fact that they have to take bigger steps. Think of the difference between a stride you might take while jogging, and one you might take while running a little faster. One will get you winded quicker.

Posted by: dkp01 | July 12, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I'll agree that select stations may very well warrant escalators, but I live in a fifth floor walkup. I go up and down those stairs at least a half a dozen times every day to walk the dog, go to work, and run errands. The human body is magically capable of performing the same task as an escalator (moving up or down) in "manual" mode - just pick up one foot, put your weight on it, pick up the other foot, and repeat the process... If you get too tired to finish three flights of steps in a row, start going to the gym and taking the stairs every day! That means you're horribly out of shape! If you have asthma, or heart problems, or a broken leg, or a spinal injury, then you can (and should) take the elevator.

Posted by: hill_guy | July 12, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I'll agree that select stations may very well warrant escalators, but I live in a fifth floor walkup. I go up and down those stairs at least a half a dozen times every day to walk the dog, go to work, and run errands. The human body is magically capable of performing the same task as an escalator (moving up or down) in "manual" mode - just pick up one foot, put your weight on it, pick up the other foot, and repeat the process... If you get too tired to finish three flights of steps in a row, start going to the gym and taking the stairs every day! That means you're horribly out of shape! If you have asthma, or heart problems, or a broken leg, or a spinal injury, then you can (and should) take the elevator.

Posted by: hill_guy | July 12, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Enough with the insufferable comments about "Just walk". Do you think everybody is 20 something and medically sound. Shut the F up! That said - Metro is an utter disgrace, and should de-funded and shut down.

Posted by: Trout1 | July 12, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Enough with the insufferable comments about "Just walk". Do you think everybody is 20 something and medically sound? Shut the F up, you narrow-minded simpletons!

That said - Metro is an utter disgrace, and embarrassment that reflects on anybody who has influence on this system. and those accountable to the voters should be thrown out.

Posted by: Trout1 | July 12, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Metro again demonstrates their complete, total incompetence and inability to understand even the basics of operating a transit system in a major metropolitan area.

The response of "just walk" is unacceptable on many levels including the concept that "just walk" should be a choice and not a mandatory statement made by Metro simply because they are too incompetent and stupid to be able to fix their problems.

There have been problems with these escalators for how many years now? Didn't Metro announce over two years ago that they were embarking on a program to 'rehabilitate' these things? Guess that's going about as well as their ability to maintain a consistent train schedule (oh... wait... there isn't one of those is there). I lose count of how many times each week I end up sitting in a tunnel waiting for a 'schedule adjustment' while Metro apologizes for the 'inconvenience'. If it bothers you that much Metro, they why don't you refund some of the money I just paid for a ride that has now been extended by an extra 10 minutes?

The problem with Metro is that they've have decades of mediocrity embedded in their management and oversight structures. This will not get better, at least not in our lifetimes unless someone steps in, cans all the management and decides to finally make the system accountable to it's riders and taxpayers.

Posted by: mika_england | July 12, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

The short platform to turnstile escalator for the Bethesda station has now been out for over two months. Official date for reopening was June. The stairs just sit there blocked off for months and once and a while you'll see a repair person up top yelling down to the one at the bottom while they pick their noses and drink their coffee. This is truly pathetic. So glad to see all that extra money from our exhorbitant fare increases going to good use. Time for a boycott!!!

Posted by: Poleman | July 12, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

The comments concerning mediocrity embedded in their culture are right on target.

I've said this before - if these escalators were in any major department store they would be fixed in ONE day. I've seen workers camped out at the non functioning Van Ness INTERNAL escalators for about 3 months! What on earth are they doing? Scamming, or are they just incompetent? It's a total disgrace!

Posted by: Trout1 | July 12, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

While walking down the escalator on the North side of Dupont Circle this morning, I remembered when, years ago, a guy walking up the stopped escalator there had a heart attack and died. Metro pledged to ALWAYS have a working escalator going upward. So many times now I've seen older people stopped, afraid to continue walking up. Also: The crowd was just beginning to get restless when I entered. There was a line to get on the elevator. And the Metro official assigned to the North side was nowhere to be found. Metro is a disgrace.

Posted by: JulyAugust | July 12, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

@traderdad and then dc1020008

If you two aren't Hyper-patriotic American zombies, so your comments just make you sound ignorant. Try out Moscow or St. Petersburg's Soviet-era technology metro systems, if you ever get the chance. The efficient, reliable, and quick escalators will make you think twice about equating technological capabilities with economic systems. Seriously, the Metro elevators in Moscow are SO fast; in comparison it makes you feel like you're crawling on WMATA's! (insert slim Russians vs. doughy Americans joke here) There's even a comedy show called Nasha Russia that pokes fun at this - where some migrant workers from East Asia feel the WHOOSH of air as they descend to the platform.

And the escalators are a joke. Where did they get these things? Ex-Soviet surplus?

@traderdad...apparently Metro's escalator production company went out of business in the early 1990's...so you may be onto something with your Soviet surplus comment.

Posted by: dc1020008 | July 12, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: kolya02 | July 12, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

This is why I started biking to work. Sure it is 22 miles roundtrip, but at least I don't have to put up with a system where management decisions are made with a bottle of rum, darts, and a list of budget items attached to a dyslexic donkey who is riding on top of the sad momma elephant from Dumbo. Also, the donkey is wearing a tophat and playing the trumpet.

o__
_.>/ _
__________________(_)_\(_)___________________________

Posted by: paddyfunk | July 12, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I remember going to Ballston right before one of the really big blizzards this past winter. It was in the middle of rush hour and everyone was racing home to avoid the snow or else going to the mall. Lots of people get off here in any given rush, and no street escalators were working. Repair people were on the scene, doing precious little. That was a really bad scene and I can't even begin to imagine what it was like this morning @ Dupont. I still think Metro is a great system overall, but the folks running it just seem cognenitally incapable of managing it. There must be something in the water over at Metro HQ.

Posted by: stodge | July 12, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I have ended my year-long car free lifestyle due to Metro problems.

For at least the past 3 months the orange line cars have been unable to maintain a consistent schedule or keep the temperatures below 90 degrees. The trains have become way too crowded, hot, and inconsistent.

I never thought I'd say it, but sitting in gridlock at rush hour is more relaxing than riding Metro now.

Posted by: throwsatfeet | July 12, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

If they gave out trophies for incompetence, stupidity and apathy these guys would need a lot more shelf space. Just another example of why my daily commute on the red line is so hated.

Posted by: rfitz_511 | July 12, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the orange line, can someone tell me why it is that in the morning the signs that are supposed to tell you when the next train is arriving/departing are either blank or only tell you where the next train is supposed to be going to?

Speaks volumes for Metro when they can't tell you when the next train will arrive from Dunn Loring when VIENNA IS THE LAST STATION ON THE LINE!

And it doesn't help when the station 'manager' responds with a flippant "When it gets here" whenever he's asked about it.

Posted by: mika_england | July 12, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

mika_england, I've noticed that sign problem on the Red Line too, where they don't list the ETA at all. But when I've asked the station managers, they've been able to tell me that a train will be there in X minutes, or that one just pulled out of wherever station. Maybe they just put the nastiest station managers on the Orange Line, because they do seem to have the information even if it's not appearing on the boards.

Posted by: dkp01 | July 12, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Judging from the size of some of the bottoms I see on Metro, it would do riders good to walk some more. Look at the front page story on obesity in Kentucky. That is you after a few years of riding escalators on Metro.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | July 12, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Has there been any explanation of why the only working escalator at the Q St. entrance of the Dupont metro stop is going down? It's this way every time the other two escalators break down and it makes no sense.

If there is only one working escalator, it should be going up.

Posted by: aeg81 | July 12, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Ok, here's the problem with the "just walk" ideology. I walk up and down the escalators in Metro during my commute every day even if they happen to be running and when the tourists let me. And I would have little issue with Metro turning the escalators into stairs if I was the only one taking them.

However: If Metro turns them all into stairs, then they would need to have operational elevators in EVERY STATION so that riders with physical disabilities, or those riders who CHOOSE not to take a massive stair climb in 100 degree temperatures can get out of the damn station.

Metro can't maintain the operational status of their elevators any more than they can maintain the operational status of the escalators. So you'd have people who can't take the stairs trapped in the station.

This isn't about people being too fat or too lazy to walk up the escalator. This is about Metro not being able to provide for the basic needs of all their riders, regardless of physical condition or desire for a workout when entering/leaving the station.

What I don't understand is why it is that so many people seem to be willing to constantly give Metro excuses for their ongoing failures? Why do so many people just shrug their shoulders and say "well that's just the way Metro is"? While yelling about their incompetence likely will not change anything in the near future, NOT yelling about their incompetence at all will ensure that nothing will change...

Posted by: mika_england | July 12, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Another day, another example of why metro is a failure....

Posted by: lovinliberty | July 12, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

A Haiku written on the Orange Line last week:

Air conditioning.
Cooling breezes sustain me
I wilt on Metro.

Posted by: Iamimpartialobserver | July 12, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I usually bike too. I just worried today with the storms. But I won't make that mistake again.

Posted by: JulyAugust | July 12, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Richard H. Smith was the 37-year old Metro rider who died of a heart attack after climbing 10 stories of a broken Bethesda station escalator at about 3:15 p.m. on July 20, 1998. I had climbed the same stopped escalator that morning. At 8:30 a.m. it was already in the mid-90s and humid. It was brutal and I vowed never to repeat that climb, especially when I heard about Mr Smith. In 1999, I was glad to hear that a court had awarded his family over $1M for Metro's negligence. Metro then set the policy that in such a case, they would always reverse the working escalator so that it went up. For years, they did. But in 2002, an appeals court overturned the award based on Metro's claim of governmental immunity. Now, if you ask a station manager to reverse the working escalator, maybe they will; maybe they won't. They know they have immunity and use it with impunity. Our courts have ruled that Metro can kill passengers with their negligence.

Escalators are not stairs. There are numerous legitimate reasons why seemingly healthy people should not be made to climb escalators as stairs. The height of the escalator step is higher than a standard step and becomes a trip hazard, especially for children and shorter people. I spent 5 years rehabbing my ACL and I'll be darned if I'm going to wreck it climbing a 10-story escalator. People with controlled asthma should most certainly not climb 10 flights in Code Orange/Red air. So, for those who have issues with the people taking the elevator, you might consider that they are reasonably healthy, and trying to stay that way by not exposing themselves to the health hazards of climbing escalators. We pay enough to Metro in fares; we should not also have to pay with our health.

Posted by: eed017 | July 12, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Wow - I missed this by less than 10 minutes. I got to the Dupont North entrance no earlier than 8:40 and actually had one of the smoothest commutes I've had in weeks. Hopefully tomorrow will be better?

Posted by: amy130 | July 12, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Why were so many of the stations built without any stairs to begin with? Have you ever gotten off at the Archives/Navy Memorial station during morning rush hour? This station has ONLY TWO escalators (i.e., only one exiting from the train platform); you couldn't take the stairs if you wanted to because there are none. When trains pull in on both sides at the same time during morning rush hour, there is a long backup of people trying to get out of the station. Making it even worse, one or the other of the two escalators is often out of service, putting everybody going in both directions on one stationary escalator. If there were any kind of emergency it would be instant chaos--it's a tragedy just waiting to happen. What's really screwy is that there is an opening in the platform with ample room to put in stairs--why they haven't done so is a mystery to me. The Columbia Heights station where I get off in the evening is similar to the Archives station but apparently they wised up by then; this station does have stairs and they get heavy use at rush hour.

Posted by: MrDarwin | July 12, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I cover Metro for the Post and would like to speak with anyone interested in sharing escalator and elevator stories for an article I am working on. Please send an email with your contact information to me at tysona@washpost.com.

Please feel free to contact me with other ideas for Metro stories.

Posted by: Ann Scott Tyson | July 12, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I stumbled on this blog called Greater Greater Washington, and one of the entries there asked if the Post was "too hard" on Metro because it was frequently covering stories just like this. Remembering that question in the context of the articles in the Post today about the escalator meltdown, the pregnant woman who kept on switching trains to find a cool one, and the family trapped on the escalator at Cleveland Park just makes me laugh. The Post isn't too hard on Metro, Metro is too hard on its customers.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | July 12, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me, the family was trapped on the ELEVATOR at Cleveland Park, not the escalator.

I'd still like the author of that blog to respond to these articles.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | July 12, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

I've lived on both the Red and Orange lines, and while it is close I have to give the epic fail trophy to the Orange line. The Red Line has many tremendous screwups and problems, but after a while you probably have seen all of them. By contrast, the fun never ends on the Orange line. You literally cannot let your guard down. The sheer wackiness of the range of problems on the Orange line runs from surreal to terrifying:

-- specific, identifiable drivers with an inability to break smoothly, instead using 40-50 jerky movements to move in and out of stations. I've named my favorite "Twitch" -- if you suspect you may get him, bring a barf bag.

-- Random station exit closures, requiring you to walk the equivalent of 2-3 extra city blocks to just get back above ground where you would have exited normally.

-- 15+ minute headways even in rush hour, while numerous nearly empty blue line trains go by in either direction.

-- Randomly empty and darkened train cars, meaning that an "8 car" train is really a 6 or 4 car train crammed to the eaves with angry commuters.

-- Random death and dismemberment.

-- Broken gates, such as this morning at West Falls Church where only 3 of the 10+ card gates were actually working for people trying to get into the station, resulting in long lines to the amusement of Metro "workers."

When I say you can't let your guard down, I mean it. There is literally no time on the Orange line when you can just relax and say "Ahh, I will be home soon." No, you won't. If it isn't the escalators, it's smoke in the tunnel, or a sick passenger, or a "schedule adjustment," or 5 packed trains at 20 minute intervals, or a snail on the track, or something. I once actually made the mistake of getting up out of my seat just before getting to my home station, and sure enough we screeched to a halt and spent 20 minutes parked 50 yards outside the station on uneven curve tracks. Friday evening, naturally.

But hey, at least I'm getting my $15/day worth of harrassment.

Posted by: zippyspeed | July 12, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm almost positive that in addition to the death on a broken escalator in Bethesda above, there was also one in Dupont Circle. I could be wrong, but I distinctly remember it being inside DC. Maybe Cleveland Park?

And to the just walk folks -- I'm in good enough shape to actually enjoy a walk up the south Dupont Circle escalators when in shorts or running clothes.

But in a suit, I don't want to break out in a sweat. Particularly if I've got a briefcase or computer bag on my shoulder. I'd look like I'd been on a run by the time I got to wherever I was going, particularly in this weather.

Posted by: Georgetwoner | July 12, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

lol, the METRO escalators has GOT to be one of the biggest running jokes perpetrated on this area. I'm 32 and I seriously believe that escalator construction has been going on MY WHOLE LIFE.

I'm not the most smartest guy, but is it really that hard to keep excalators runngn???

Posted by: wordup1 | July 12, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

This morning, one of the Dupont South entrance escalators was working and it was going down. Big help.

Around 6, the south side was closed off by the fire department and Metro cops. A metro worker told us to walk to Farragut North and catch the train north from there because Dupont wasn't open but trains were going through. Walked down as directed, waited for a train. Next stop: Dupont Circle, where it did stop after all.

Posted by: artbrodsky | July 12, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

You people whine and whine and whine....

Posted by: JoelskiRapz | July 12, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

You people whine and whine and whine....

Posted by: JoelskiRapz | July 12, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Several people have suggested that if only one escalator is working at Dupont (or presumably any of the other very deep stations), it should be running up. I'm not so sure I agree with that because of what is shown in the morning video in the original blog post, together with the text about people trying to enter the station having to fight their way past people leaving. I think that if only one escalator is working, it needs to run in the direction OPPOSITE from the way the bulk of the people are heading. That's because many Metro riders are rude, stupid, or both in that they just flood up every available route without considering that there are people trying to go the other way. The person who wants to BOARD a train at, say, Dupont during the morning rush hour has a nearly impossible time of getting down the escalator when circumstances are similar to yesterday's, and the people blocking the way down tend to get downright belligerent when asked to move over. Having the one working escalator running in the opposite direction essentially prevents people from completely blocking the way in this manner.

I understand why, in the case of the very deep stations, people think it's important to have the escalator going upwards, since we can all probably agree that for most people it's easier to walk down than up if all other things are equal. But it's not so easy to walk down when a wall of people angry about the broken escalator are on the wrong side of the escalator blocking the way. (Put differently, if you're walking up the left-hand escalator, you should be going single-file on the right side to allow room for people going the other way.)

Posted by: 1995hoo | July 13, 2010 7:18 AM | Report abuse

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