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Pentagon may change Metro security

The Pentagon is considering changes in security at the Metro station that would restrict the ability of commuters to access walkways and escalators there, according to a report by Markham Heid in the Washington Examiner.

The news follows a March incident at the Pentagon where two officers were shot at the Pentagon's main entrance.

In April, Ed O'Keefe reported in The Post that the Pentagon would increase security measures, including creating a wider security perimeter, installing more lighting and positioning officers closer to the station's escalators.

According to the Examiner report, which is based on information from the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, the steps now being considered would limit the ability of commuters to access two walkways and elevators.

NVTC Chairwoman Catherine Hudgins, who is also first vice chairman of the Metro board, told the Examiner the Pentagon could have the changes in place by next month.

The Post's Ann Scott Tyson is working on this story. Check back for more details. Meanwhile, tell us what you you think by posting a comment below.

By Michael Bolden  | July 6, 2010; 8:22 AM ET
Categories:  Blue Line, Metro, Northern Virginia, Yellow Line  
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Please tell Ann Scott Tyson that we need to know the following things from her upcoming story:

1. A diagram or graphic of what exactly they're going to close off. I can't picture it in my head from just a written description.

2. How can they get away with blocking access to elevators, given ADA requirements? What about pregnant women, people with broken legs, people with strollers, etc? Surely even the Army isn't allowed to just tell handicapped people to "stuff it"...

3. What legal recourse does Metro have to stop the Pentagon from disrupting their passengers' Metro experience? From Metro's POV, now's not the time to be making things worse for customers.

Personally, I am already inclined *not* to commute on Metro (via bus to Pentagon station) from my home in Virginia, because it takes longer than driving and is much less comfortable/pleasant.

I might be lured back to transit if conditions were improved, but making my bus-to-Metro transfer experience *less* pleasant and efficient is absolutely, definitively NOT the way to get me to be a Metro customer again. If Metro is serious about customer service, they won't allow this to happen.

Posted by: mccxxiii | July 6, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

FYI: they already have the bullet proof ID post barricades up in the covered walkway. At this point its not blocked but it looks much less inviting to those of us transferring from Bus to Metro.

When you develop your graphic of what is happing make sure that you indicate that the Western most walk way (the one on the right when facing the Pentagon) and the elevator are both not on a entrance walkway to the Pentagon. The walkway directly in front of the pentagon connecting the Western walkway and elevator to the active entrance has been blocked for years.

** At this point the only thing the elevator is near is doors that are used as Exits. **

Posted by: iolaire | July 6, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Would it be impolitic to suggest the pentagon security system worked just fine?
That the guards were wearing bulletproof vests, had armored glass podiums and weapons to return fire.

It appears the building went into Lockdown, and the guards handled the event as professionals.

What improvements need to be made?

Posted by: patb | July 6, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

As I left the Pentagon this afternoon, elevator access appeared to be just outside the new guarded perimeter.

As what is wrong with the current set-up -- the gunman got close enough to lob a grenade inside the building.

Not to mention that thousands of commuters now walk within explosive safety distances from the Pentagon Metro Entrance. Anyone of them could present a potential situation.

The Pentagon is a legitimate military target, something all of us who work inside the building understand.

If a crazy gets loose, the next day could be our last, if not my last, then my co-workers.

If someone is trying to kill us, I prefer to make difficult for them, not easier.

Posted by: LisaJain1 | July 6, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

My partner, who has major knee problems right now, has to take a bus from the Pentagon to get to our house in Arlington. He just wrote me to complain about missing his Pentagon bus by <1 minute because of a woman arguing with a metro employee and blocking the way. It already takes 45 minutes to 1 hr++ to take public transportation for what is a 7 mile drive or 30-35 min bicycle ride. Just a general complaint about the Pentagon metro commute in general. I wish 395 had an express bus lane.

As a regular cyclist who occasionally takes my bike to/from the Pentagon where I can bus (but can't take bike on metro), I would also be concerned about not being allowed to bicycle from the Pentagon bus bay to the trail.

Posted by: elbows1 | July 6, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Why not quit the nickle-and-dimeing security measures and just restrict the Pentagon Metro station to Pentagon employees only. Anyone else who needs to access the Pentagon can be bussed in from Crystal City.
This would also cut down on traffic to the Pentagon parking lot, ease traffic on 395, and funnel traffic off 95 on to Jefferson Davis Highway. Sorry Crystal City, security you know.

Posted by: Jimof1913 | July 6, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Also keep in mind that the current Metro Rail/Bus Depto was built after 9-11.

Posted by: iolaire | July 6, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

There is no way to further restrict access to "commuters" since Pentagon workers are also commuters who are arriving via the subway and bus depot. There is no other way to separate Pentagon workers and people just using the rail station unless you put the entrance to the subway and the security check point for the Pentagon in the middle of the parking lot. You would also need to build an enclosed bomb resistant passageway that goes into the Pentagon. Maybe install 20 foot concrete blast walls like in Iraq. I'm kidding but I bet someone wants to do it.

Posted by: buffysummers | July 6, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Why not move the bus depot to Pentagon City? That would make a safer Pentagon metro stop and fewer people to screen. There could be a shuttle from Pentagon City for those who need access to the Pentagon. And as there is a stop at Pentagon City that would make it easier for other riders.

Posted by: jbgroup1 | July 6, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

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