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Metrorail Stations Scheduled For Makeovers

Metro has a team that tackles the basic repair and cleaning jobs that improve the look of the rail stations. If you notice a station looking brighter and cleaner over a period of several months, it's most likely because the station enhancement crew has been on the job.

At a Metro committee meeting this morning, Paul Gillum, Metro's director of plant maintenance, laid out the schedule for the fiscal year that started July 1. His people do 12 "major" and 12 "mini" enhancements each year. The longterm schedule is to restore the look of each station about every three years and nine months.

Enhancements are scheduled for these stations during the next 12 months:
Major Enhancements: Dunn Loring, East Falls Church, Eisenhower Avenue, Forest Glen, Medical Center, Potomac Avenue, Twinbrook, Wheaton, White Flint, U Street, Vienna, West Falls Church.

Mini Enhancements: Ballston, Bethesda, Brookland, Court House, Foggy Bottom, Franconia-Springfield, Friendship Heights, Rockville, Shady Grove, Smithsonian, Virginia Square, Woodley Park.

The majors and the minis involve different types of work. A major takes about three months. A mini takes about 25 percent less time. I watched some of the overnight work for a "major" at Cleveland Park. During the hours the station was closed, crews on lifts power washed the station's concrete ceiling and walls. I could see the before and after, and the difference was remarkable as they removed the tunnel dust that gathers in the station.

Read some more about the station enhancement program in this Commuter page feature.

By Robert Thomson  |  July 16, 2009; 10:24 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail, station enhancement  
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I noticed yesterday that the upper platform of the Pentagon metro station was much brighter. Hopefully this is a permanent change. Now I can actually read while standing on the platform waiting for the train, without damaging my eyesight.

Posted by: KilmarockCommuter | July 16, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Farragut West needs a big re-think. I have two suggestions.

1. Every rush-hour, the platform is crowded and backs up trains trying to offload more customers at that station.

Customers using the 18th Street entrance who try to travel to Virginia on the Orange and Blue Lines are faced with running a one-person wide gauntlet because the escalator that goes down to the track level lets customers off under the escalator that goes up to the mezzanine fare gate level. Customers stand at the side of the up escalator so that you simply cannot get quickly to the main area of the platform. If there was proper management of that entrance to the system, the escalators would be switched so that passengers would have a more open entrance to the train platform.

2. The Farragut West train platform is too narrow to accomodate the number of passengers that are trying to enter and exit the system. A partial and inexpensive solution would be to raise the platform lights that currently back-light the platform and mount them on the walls, and then extend the platform all the way to the wall, tearing down the current barrier that runs the length of the platform. I estimate some 3 to 4 feet of space could be reclaimed all along the length of the platform which would relieve a substantial amount of overcrowding.

Posted by: gooner71 | July 16, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Will they be pulling the weeds that are growing out of the walls and lamps out, because those seem to be the only fresh air we're getting? Seriously, they plants are growing out of the light fixtures and cement walls. We have enough of an issue with Metro, the last thing we need is for a station tunnel to collapse because of shoddy pruning.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | July 16, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Polling on whether John Catoe should resign is running 2-1 for resignation/firing.

When will WaPo give this issue some coverage?

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | July 16, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I noticed that the Brookland station is scheduled for a "mini-enhancement". This station is long overdue for a canopy covering the escalator and steps. It seems that every station but Brookland (the south side escalators) have canopies over their weather-exposed escalators. It's obvious that the weather wears on this escalator causing it to be down for maintenance and overhaul all to frequently. When will the customers who patronize Brookland get some relief?

Posted by: Robmic812 | July 16, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Several stations need an overhaul, as noted by the other commentors here. However, I don't think cleaning "Betheda" is going to help that one might look nice for a little while, but there is sevear water seepage going on, to the point where it sounds like fountains are running inside the station. It's unsanitary, messy, and dangerous for the electrical rails. Giving that station a mini-clean won't mean much.

Posted by: akchild | July 16, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Do the "major enhancements" at Twinbrook mean changing the buckling and crumbling tiles on the platform? The occasional cones to warn passengers of the really dangerous spots don't really suffice.

Posted by: Louise9 | July 16, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Do these renovations have light bulbs included?

The lighting is so dark in some stations that not only is it difficult to read a book or a newspaper if you're waiting, but also it's difficult just to SEE anything that's worth seeing. (For example, when a homeless or drunk person has left a puddle of vomit near a bench. Judging by the various sets of footprints wandering down the platform, several passengers -- men and women -- didn't see that one in time.)

Posted by: EtoilePB | July 16, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I want to echo EtoilePB's comments: Can Metro PLEASE do something about the dim lighting? It probably reduces the alertness of Metro drivers. I suspect it also causes a lot of needless eyestrain as we try to read a newspaper in that perpetual dimness, as well as contributing to negative mood (perhaps with brighter lighting, people would even feel more positive toward Catoe - JK).

Posted by: data-driven24 | July 16, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

It would be nice to know if there is any end in sight to the rehab of the Glenmont parking garage. An April 21, 2009 chat on the WMATA website revealed the project was "in its last phases," and three months later, they're re-closing a major portion of the garage.

Posted by: mcljphillips | July 17, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

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