Featured Photo

Featured Photo

Escalators; in this town, they both fascinate and annoy us. The fascination comes from being an almost steampunk era machine, constantly clicking and clacking, tucked away in mysterious low light areas. The annoyance, well, that comes from the people who use them; the clash of local vs visitor. Everyone has their way of getting clueless tourists to the right side; whether it’s a polite “excuse me,” or a more impolite “EXCUSE ME” followed by some choicer adjectives. Yep, escalators bring us all together.

Victoria certainly captures the fascination of these machines with her picture above. The low angle provides a unique point of view; after all, most of us don’t hunch over while riding up one of these things. This perspective captures the forward motion of the escalator, making the viewer feeling like they are rising up into the light. As well, the dark, almost black and white, coloring gives the photo a gritty look. This gritty look is complemented by the orange lights, flowing upwards to the vanishing point, helping to make this picture by providing a vivid splash of color into otherwise two toned scheme. Put simply, this is a great photo.

Fun factoid: did you know Metro has the longest single span escalator in the Western Hemisphere? I want to walk up that thing.

Featured Photo

Featured Photo

How a photographer orients their camera can have surprising effects on the finished product of a photograph. That sounds like an obvious statement yet most people never move their photos beyond portrait or landscape compositions. But once one realizes that photographs can be oriented however one wants, a whole new world of art can be opened up.

Let’s take Patrick’s photo above. Rather than simply composing the shot as a regular landscape shot, he set the escalator’s handlebar as the plane of the photo. This small change suddenly makes all the people look as if they are carrying or pulling heavy loads. Combined with the grim black and white treatment, it really does look like they are enduring some sort of punishment. If we imagine what this shot would look like with a typical orientation it would lose much of its interest.

Featured Photo

Featured Photo

Photo courtesy of
‘Prepare for Liftoff’
courtesy of ‘rpmaxwell’

There are many ways to make a great picture. Sometimes, it requires you to look at a familiar subject from an unusual angle. It’s not always possible, but sometimes you get lucky.

Looks like Ryan Maxwell got a little luck and managed to take the time to put his camera on the edge of a Metro escalator. He was lucky not to have others walking up behind him to use it, for one, and luckier that it didn’t self destruct while he was there.

A long exposure from a low angle, and the escalator is transformed into something a bit more … sci-fi? Something bigger? More sinister?

Featured Photo

Featured Photo

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘volcanojw’

Proving that photography doesn’t have to be about the equipment and that a good eye is at least as important, here’s a fantastic shot taken with a plain old iPhone camera.

Just as in comedy, timing is (almost) everything. Jenn‘s timing is impeccable, catching the escalator rider stepping off, silhouetted against the sky. The timing is especially difficult when using a phone or a point and shoot camera because of shutter lag.

And because timing isn’t everything, the lines, the sky, and the escalator form a nice frame and lead your eye to her reflection.

The Daily Feed

Foggy Bottom Escalator Backup

(Thanks to peroty for the mobile photo and heads-up)

If you’re aiming to get into or out of Foggy Bottom Metro station on the Orange Line this morning, be warned that at the moment two escalators are closed, and the only open escalator is going up. This, and one broken platform escalator, make getting out difficult, and getting in pretty much impossible (unless you like lining up for the elevator).

Alternatives: Farragut West, or Rosslyn + blue bus or 38B. We have, of course, been here before.

Continue reading

Foggy Bottom, The Daily Feed, WMATA, WTF?!

Foggy Bottom Platform Escalator Fail

Foggy Bottom Platform Escalator Fail
Originally uploaded by brownpau

So you know how the Foggy Bottom Station escalators are actually a two-layered system of bottlenecks? Today the platform-to-mezzanine bottleneck was made worse by one of the two up escalators being blocked off (at rush hour with no work being done on it at the time, natch) so that hordes of work-bound Metro riders had to cram on to one single escalator. Good thing there wasn’t a fire. Thanks, Metro!

Foggy Bottom, The Daily Feed, WMATA, WTF?!

The Eternally Receding Horizon of Metro Escalator Repair Deadlines

Still Broken

I don’t even remember what date WMATA originally put on the repair notice when they closed the middle escalator of Foggy Bottom back in summer. I just knew that there was a 100% chance of them changing that date as soon as it came close. Sure enough, they changed it to Nov 29th. And when Nov 29th rolled by, naturally the repair deadline became Dec 19th. Will they make that deadline?

Of course not. Watch for when they bump that date to late December or early January, as the on-again-off-again nightmare of Foggy Bottom traffic bottleneck management continues.

Foggy Bottom, The Daily Feed, WMATA, WTF?!

Foggy Bottom Metro Line

I post about this altogether too much, but here we go again: epic lines to enter the Foggy Bottom Metro Station because of a rush hour escalator bottleneck. Of three escalators, one is closed for repairs till Nov 29th, one seems to be up-only, and the remaining nonworking one is split between down and up lanes. The result: a forked pair of lines stretching down the block in either direction.

I skipped the scene altogether and walked to Farragut West instead.

The Daily Feed, WMATA, WTF?!

Broken Escalator Glass at Metro Center

Broken Escalator Glass, Metro Center
Originally uploaded by brownpau

I’m not sure what happened here. Angry Metro rider? Angry Redskins fan? Angry that the escalator wasn’t working? Rush hour jostling accident? General horseplay incident? Repair work flub? In any case, this escalator from the lower level of Metro Center to the Glenmont-bound Red Line platform has been closed for two weeks, and is now likely to stay closed for a bit longer while they replace the broken glass.

Foggy Bottom, The Daily Feed, WMATA, WTF?!

Foggy Bottom Metro Escalator Alert

It never ends. It only gets lulzier! We are in receipt of the following alert from alert.ema.dc.gov: Transportation Incident. Disruption at Foggy Bottom-GWU. (All of the station’s entrance escalators are out of service due to mechanical difficulties. Shuttle bus service has been established. The station’s elevator is operational, the station remains open).

We already knew all the escalators were out but if only one is open (not clear from the alert) then that means a possible line outside the station at rush hour like we had on Monday. Click through the jump to see a map of alternative ways home if you want to skip the shuttle bus.

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Foggy Bottom, Talkin' Transit, The Daily Feed, WMATA

Metro Escalator Update – Foggy Bottom and Capitol South

Quick update on the Foggy Bottom Metro escalators: Friday’s mess was the result of a passenger’s footwear getting stuck on the middle escalator that afternoon, closing it down in addition to the already-under-repair first escalator, so that only one escalator was left open to serve as stairs. As of today, two escalators are open but shut down, both serving as stairs. Continue reading

Foggy Bottom, Talkin' Transit, The Daily Feed, WMATA, WTF?!

Foggy Bottom Metro Escalator Mess: AGAIN

Foggy Bottom Metro escalators have done it again, this time at the height of the Friday afternoon rush, and I have once again gotten video of the mess:

Last time this happened, only one escalator was barricaded, so desperate riders could at least scamper up the opposing escalator. Today, two were blocked, so only one shut-down escalator was available to serve as narrow stairs for both ascending and descending foot traffic. The result: crowds above and below. Epic fail once more.

Metro police and station personnel were on hand to do what little they could, but that didn’t seem to do much to thin the mass of people. And, as before — after taking this video, I didn’t bother waiting in line; it was faster to just walk the two blocks to Farragut West Station.

This is pretty bad, WMATA. Why have escalators at all if your contractors can’t even maintain them?

Foggy Bottom, Talkin' Transit, WMATA, WTF?!

Foggy Bottom Metro Escalator Mess

Big mess at Foggy Bottom this morning. Watch this video:

Foggy Bottom is the singularly worst-designed Metro station I’ve used in the system: only one exit, twin escalators going up together from platform to mezzanine, and just a single escalator going down to the platform, no stairs, traffic bottlenecks all over the place. The situation was made worse this morning when only one of three mezzanine-to-street-level escalators was working — going down. The middle escalator was closed for repairs, and the escalator going up was open but off, serving as stairs. I’ve seen it like that before, but throw in a rush hour crowd in a time of “high” fuel crisis ridership, and you get a foot traffic disaster.

I didn’t even bother joining the line; it was faster to go back in, double back to Farragut West, and walk from there. When I got back to Foggy Bottom to get some video of people emerging from the system, a few daring riders had resorted to running up against the down escalator — to cheers from the crowd, surprisingly.

WMATA, This is intolerable. You have reached a new level of EPIC ESCALATOR FAIL this morning — even worse than on epic multifail day.

Update: I was on TV today for this video: Fox 5 News Edge story, featuring a quick interview with me outside Foggy Bottom station this afternoon. Washington Post’s “Get There” blog also covers the story: No Way Up at Foggy Bottom, and Clearing Out Foggy Bottom.