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.

Roving Asian mendicant, can occasionally be seen wandering the streets of downtown Washington, muttering unintelligible gibberish to passers-by while pushing a “bag lady” shopping cart full of old blankets, American flags, soda cans, and healthy secondhand snacks from organic food shop dumpsters. Used to live in a cardboard box at 16th and K but the rent was too expensive.

14 thoughts on “Foggy Bottom Metro Escalator Mess

  1. Hmmm, I think the left side runners do make you feel like you’re caught in a hamster/rat race…

    But seriously, this is bad… but try Wheaton when the escalators are out.

  2. IIRC, Metro got some serious flack for this a few summers ago. I (vaguely) recall that as a result, Metro was required to keep an escalator running up if the other wasn’t running, assuming there was more than one at the same entrance. Escalators aren’t really designed to be climbed; their steps are too steep.

  3. the worst part was the rude or nonchalant metro employees who literally smiled and laughed at the crowds as they waited to walk up the escalator.

  4. The employees should be a little more circumspect about how amused they seem, but in fairness to them it’s unlikely that anyone working at that station has one iota of input on escalator maintenance or repair….

  5. It was pretty ridiculous this morning. I mean, if only one escalator works, the least they could do is make it go up! Walking up doesn’t bother me, but it would have sped up even that process.

    The other problem has been the fact that this problem has plagued FoBo for more than a week now. It just was a perfect storm of sorts today.

  6. 1. Metro’s policy is that if only one escalator is running, it should be running UP. Whey didn’t any of the Metro employees know this and do something about it?

    2. When faced with brain-dead Metro employees like this, the solution is to hit the emergency stop button on the working escalator. Let the idiot Metro employees explain what happened to their superiors.

  7. Yeah, why didn’t someone just hit the emergency stop button the “down” escalator?

  8. Poor Foggy Bottom Metro. The biggest problem, in my mind, is lack of stairs, especially on the mezzanine. But that’s true for a lot other Metro stations as well. The Metro stations weren’t designed to handle people all that well.

  9. That is worst than Capitol South. Capitol South has 3 escalators and a set of cement steps. These escalator seem to break down frequently, as this station doesn’t have a canopy. One day last week, 2 escalators were out and the only working one was going up. So, people had to walk down the escalator and a woman complained that she can’t walk down.

  10. That is hilarious footage at the end of the video. I am so glad that I am not some suburbanite who needs to go through the time, pain, and expense of commuting into and out of this city everyday. It cannot possibly be worth whatever amount of money people save. I’ll keep paying my outrageous rent for living in DC because I would have a “Falling Down” moment if I put up with crap like this everyday.

  11. Joseph Sixpack, do you live next to your job or are you just sitting around collecting welfare checks? Because a lot of commuters are within the city, not your hated “suburbanites”

  12. Neither. But, just to clarify, I don’t hate suburbanites.

    I apologize for failing to point this out, in addition to not writing it in the first place.

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