Clearing Out Foggy Bottom
Metro says it will have supervisors at Foggy Bottom Station this morning to figure out the best configuration of the two working escalators for the rush period.
On Monday morning, only one was moving in Metrorail's eighth busiest station, and that was going down when hundreds of people were trying to get out.
This was the situation, as described to me in an e-mail from Angela Emerson of Alexandria:
"When I arrived at the Foggy Bottom stop this morning, there were many hundreds of people waiting to exit the station. The station has three escalators. One was carrying folks down into the station, one was blocked off and not moving, and the remaining one, which we were all forced to use to get out, was not moving.
"So the delay was caused by only one up escalator being open, and everyone having to climb that one out."
Some of you asked if the station needs two entrances, rather than the one, with its bank of three escalators.
Metro spokeswoman Candace Smith said a feasibility study, done at the request of the District last year, found it would cost more than $21 million to build a second entrance at 22nd and I (Eye) streets NW. She said the study looked at installing two escalators, a stairway and two elevators at the
You can see the Monday morning scene in this video at welovedc.com. Masses huddle on the mezzanine waiting to walk up the halted escalator. A few others scramble upward past people on the downbound escalator.
This is Candace Smith's escalator-by-escalator description of the Monday morning situation:
Escalator No. 1, the one the passengers were walking up to reach street level, had been taken out of service on July 18 to replace a motor. But until Monday morning people could still use it as a "walker." (Now it's under repair and will be out of action until September.)
Escalator No. 2, the middle one, was taken out of service on Sunday, because of mechanical problems. Early Monday, a mechanic decided it had to be closed off to the public for safety, so it could not be used as a stairway. That escalator was repaired and running by 9:30 a.m. Monday.
Escalator No. 3 was running downward. The station manager couldn't get it to reverse direction. Rather than shut it off and use it as a stairway, Metro decided to keep it going, since about 5,000 people do enter the station during morning rush hours. During this time, Smith said, the station elevator remained in service.
This is what we see so often in the transit system: With more and more people riding, the chances increase that when things go wrong, they'll go wrong in a hurry.
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