List of Metro’s 20 worst escalators – Georgia Ave #1

Photo by PoPville flickr user p.bjork

Thanks to a reader for sending. In what surely won’t be a surprise for those who take the Petworth metro – it has the worst escalator(s). At least I now know, I’m not going crazy thinking the escalators are always broken…

Here’s the whole list from WTOP:

Below is a list of the top 20 worst performing escalators as compiled by Metro for ABC7. The number listed after the station is the percentage of time at which a particular escalator at that station works.

Georgia Avenue: 34.17 percent
Friendship Heights: 38.46 percent
Bethesda: 44.57 percent
Friendship Heights: 44.60 percent
Huntington: 45.16 percent
U Street: 46.38 percent
Georgia Avenue: 48.85 percent
U Street: 60.87 percent
Columbia Heights: 61.96 percent
Glenmont: 65.93 percent
Georgia Avenue: 66.25 percent
Arlington Cemetery: 67.07 percent
Friendship Heights: 69.46 percent
Georgia Avenue: 70.40 percent
U Street: 70.56 percent
Woodley Park: 70.90 percent
Glenmont: 73.64 percent
Woodley Park: 73.87 percent
Cleveland Park: 73.89 percent
Arlington Cemetery: 74.48 percent

41 Comment

  • T

    I gasped audibly when I came home the other night and both of the northbound escalators were running. I can count the number of times I’ve seen them both working at the same time on one hand.

  • “An escalator can never break. It can only become stairs. You should never see an Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order sign, just Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience.”

    • Presumably said by someone who hasn’t spent a lot of time at the Georgia Ave.-Petworth Metro. At least the escalators are much shorter than, say, Woodley Park — that’s a LONG way to walk up.

      I think I’ve twice come home from work to find that NONE of the five escalators in the station were working. (There are three at the west entrance/exit, and two at the east entrance/exit.)

      • Is walking up steps really such a burden? Put down the donuts.

        • Some people are born disabled, you know (no donuts involved). And, yes, due to the height difference, escalators can be significantly harder than ordinary stairs.

          • Not to mention the hassle factor when one escalator is blocked off for repair, and the other one is stationary.

            As long as the station has other escalators/stairs, it’s not necessarily that big of a deal. (I like how newer stations like Georgia Ave. and Columbia Heights were built with staircases going to the platforms.) But at Capitol Center SW, there’s often a long queue just to get off the platform because one escalator has been blocked off for months and everyone has to squeeze onto a single stationary escalator serving both up and down traffic.

          • It’s a really good thing for you that you were born in the 20th century.

        • Yes, walking up stairs is such a burden — when one is toting luggage, sacks of groceries, 20 pounds of work stuff. When one has bad knees or asthma. When one is elderly or disabled. Back it up there, judgey.

          • Wow, why so much hostility? (And anonymous hostility at that?) Is it just for the sake of being contrary?

            Plenty of people manage to stand on the right with their grocery bags, wheeled luggage, etc. either held in front of them or on the steps in front of or behind them.

            Carrying things on the Metro does not equal blocking others.

            And as for “The elderly, disabled, and lazy can take the elevator”… maybe you haven’t noticed all the messages on the “next train” screens, but on any given day, a number of Metro elevators are out of order.

            It’s not outrageous for people who use Metro to want Metro to work properly. Metro’s poor strategies as far as elevator/escalator maintenance have been well documented.

          • Whoops, that wasn’t a response to jenster8dc, but rather to a snarky reply that’s since been deleted.

          • While I don’t understand why my post was deleted when bigots can freely make snide remarks about poor people and Section 8, my whole point is that somehow society functioned before escalators came along. Having to walk up stairs instead is not something that most people in the community should be angry about.

        • Dont feed the trolls…

        • A guy died of a heart attack a few years ago climbing up the Bethesda escalators when they were not moving. Not everyone is young, healthy, unburdened by heavy belongings, and able to climb up 200+ feet of stairs at any given moment. Many metro customers are elderly, disabled, or for whatever reason are not up to that task. Be grateful that you are because some day you won’t be, whether its because you ate too many doughnuts or not.

          • Exactly. And even for us able-bodied, some nights we’re coming home from a hard-enough exercise class to the point our legs don’t want to move anymore and we have to struggle up the broken escalator. I suppose I could risk getting some dirty looks from the people who rightfully need the elevator, but generally I try to just struggle up the broken escalators.

      • Off topic, but my favorite Mitch line: I think Pringles’ initial intention was to make tennis balls. But on the day that the rubber was supposed to show up, a big truckload of potatoes arrived. But Pringles was a laid-back company. They said “F#ck it. Cut ’em up.”

  • – Woodley park escalator out last night
    – Elevator line backed up for at least 4 trips.
    – Just getting home from a brutal leg workout.
    – Looking at it positively, the long walk up probably helped with my lactic acid buildup.

    • Walking up Woodley Park is no joke. Just the one is 204′ – longer than Rosslyn and the same as going up a 20 story building. Most people can’t do that without stopping.

  • I’m surprised Shaw (R Street exit) and Gallery Place (9th and Galleries exit) aren’t on here. Those never work.

  • Anyone else notice that *half* of these stations are ones that are relatively new. 10 out of the top 20 broken escalators are at stations that opened in the 90s — Georgia Ave (1999), U Street (1991), Columbia Heights (1991), and Glenmont (1998). Why do busier, older stations (like, say, Union Station) fare so much better? Plus, any correlation with the manufacturer of the escalator?

    Questions, questions!

    • Do you use the escalators at Union Station on a daily basis? I do, and they’ve been running well since they were rehabbed last year, but prior to that it seemed as if one or more of them was constantly breaking down.

    • Nitpicking: I think the CH Metro also opened in 1999 (and not ’91).

    • This may be incorrect, but I remember hearing that they started to install indoor escalators instead of ones made to be used outdoors because of the cheaper upfront cost. although most of the escalators are covered, they are still exposed to the elements.

  • Uhmmm….When then, pray tell, did they close a Dupont exit down for 8 months? Dupont is not even on that list.

    • I was just thinking the same thing…

      Though traveling from Georgia Ave. to DuPont daily, I have to say DuPont (south) being out is much more cumbersome to my commute.

  • This was my rant but I’m posting again because I’m STILL ANNOYED!:

    Rant: The DUPONT METRO!!!! At approx. 6:00 last night the down escalator stopped working (became temporary stairs). Instead of letting people walk down, they blocked it off while trying to fix it, thus NO ONE COULD GET DOWN to the metro! After 10′ish minutes they stopped the up escalator and made it a two-way walk. All of this in the rain. It was RIDICULOUS!! And also what happens when you close off one entrance…

    • I agree it’s incredibly frustrating, and probably not the last time this will happen while the South entrance is closed off. If you don’t subscribe already, I would recommend signing up for WMATA’s metro alerts – they sent out an email shortly before 6 letting people know that the entering escalator was out of service.

  • At this point, I just call them stairs.

  • I just take the smellovator at the Georgia Avenue station. No point in walking half a block from the bus stop only to find that the escalator is out again.

  • The real problem is not that escalators break sometimes and need to be fixed/reworked: That happens, especially with the crazy traffic the ones get on metro. The problem is that it take WMATA 6-8 months at a time to repair an escalator. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?! Escalator repair is simply not that hard. The timetable should be measured in weeks, not months, for repairs.

    • How do you know that escalator repair is not that hard? I’m not saying you’re wrong, I just don’t think that’s something that the average person knows about.

      • I guess “not hard” isn’t exactly what I meant. It could be incredibly difficulty, skill-wise. Not as time consuming as it is made out to be by Metro, is more what I mean. I have seen escalators break in other contexts (malls, office buildings, museums, hell other transportation networks) and they are fixed in a fraction of the time that it takes WMATA.

    • I heard that part of the reason why Dupont will take so long is due needing to bring in a crane for some aspects of the work, and closing off the street and sidewalks isn’t feasible during the average workday.

  • I go up and down the east entrance to Columbia Heights every day. I don’t think there have been five days this year when both escalators were operating.

    At some point this will stop *seeming* true and start *being* true: We live in the ruins of the society that built a metro system with a lot of escalators; the escalator-builders never imagined that the expertise required to keep them running could be lost; but it was.

  • On a positive note DC is always listed as one of the fittest cities in the country, and I attribute the constant stair climbing to part of this. Quads of steel!

  • i would disagree with this… I think DuPont and/or Farragut West are much much worst than our metro. Ga Ave metro doesn’t get nearly as traffic as they do! It may be down 1/2 the time but at least there isn’t 300ppl trying to walk up and down it!

    • Except that they are never working at the Georgia Ave Metro. Also, for all those who are complaining about how lazy everyone is, the escalators can be treacherous in nasty weather. During a heavy rain, I saw a young boy slip and bang his head on the Georgia Ave escalator.

  • I can’t believe Tenleytown wasn’t on this list.

  • I use the New York Ave metro, which is one of the newest stations opened. It’s had at least one escalator down for the last couple months. I just don’t see the “age” as being a just reason for the down escalator.

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