Damn, Crowded Metro Station! You Scary!

Photo courtesy of
‘not goin’ anywhere?’
courtesy of ‘philliefan99’

Was anyone else at the Chinatown Metro station yesterday evening at around 6:15? I was, and I was pressed into the mass of humanity unsuccessfully attempting to move around the station. It all started because a red line train, which I was on, had to offload at Judiciary Square, thereby causing a delay that resulted in platforms down the line filling up. I got to Chinatown, got off the train and proceeded to work my way through a human traffic jam for 20 minutes. New trains would come in, but the platform was so crowded that passengers could barely get off and the doors would close before anyone waiting could board. This exacerbated the crowding problem and the platform just got more and more full. I’m pretty sure that no one died or anything, but I was witness to a few fights. The best part: this was just a Monday evening. Nothing special was happening.  I really do love mass transit.

(Yes, I know the picture’s not of Chinatown.)

Kirk is a Maine-born, military brat who moved no fewer than 12 times during his childhood. He came to the DC area in 2004 for his undergrad and decided that it was the place for him. Since graduating, he’s nabbed a job with the Fed and spends most of his free time hunting for cheap thrills in the city. Find out why he loves DC.

4 thoughts on “Damn, Crowded Metro Station! You Scary!

  1. I know I’m not the first to say that, but it’s almost as if Metro is artificially limiting rush hour trains and service to demonstrate what service cuts would look like. It’s not a pretty picture, but neither is paying more $50-75/year more to Metro when they’re likely not going to do anything useful with it.

  2. I don’t think there is any conspiracy at work about limiting service. Too many people would have to be shut up to keep that a secret. This is just the post-holiday, everybody back from vacation typical DC rush.

  3. I asked about this in last Friday’s Metro chat with John Catoe; this sort of thing has been happening frequently during morning rush in Gallery Place/Chinatown since the turn of the year. Unfortunately Catoe’s answer:
    “I will pass this along to the Rail people to see if they can get some more supervisors on the platform to encourage people to walk further along the platform to ease the choke-point.”
    …doesn’t address either the cause or a true solution.

    (scroll down to “Takoma Park”)

    The main cause of this is the trains pulling up to the front of the platform, which they’ve been doing since last summer’s collision. I understand the safety reasons for that, but… this then undermines the pedestrian traffic “plan” (especially if you’re transferring) for the station, as you then have to walk half the platform to either change lines or just get on the train.

    The platform fills up, paralysis ensues: people can neither get off nor get onto the train. All it will take is for one kooky person to start shoving someday before people start falling onto the tracks. It’s frightening.

  4. i get caught in this madness quite often. it is super annoying, because a) people are sometimes standing RIGHT AT THE END of the platform, where bajillions of people are trying to get by them, and yet somehow it does not occur to them to get the f out of the way. b) i almost always see metro employees standing on the platform too, just watching the human sardines try to get down to where they’re going! i really, really want to be like, DO SOMETHING. really. even just calling out WALK RIGHT would be helpful.