Dear PoPville – What’s Up with the Petworth Metro Escalator?

Photo by PoPville flickr user ep_jhu

“Dear PoPville,

I was writing because I hope that someone will know what the deal is with the broken escalator at the Petworth metro going from the platform to the turnstyles. This escalator has easily been broken for a year and I never see anyone working on it. I’ve had two back surgeries and find it really ridiculous that this fix would take more than a year (to say nothing about the Petworth metro ice rink that you wrote about a few months ago – I am surprised that we didn’t hear about any slip-and-fall lawsuits). I know there are elevators at the metro, and I use them when my back is hurting. But a year? Really?”

Ed. Note: Petworth is part of a big project to fix/replace escalators (“a $151 million contact with KONE Corporation to fully replace an additional 128 escalators by 2020”).

21 Comment

  • Not to mention the street-level escalators on the north-bound exit, which just seem to be out-of-service every other day.

    Then again, it’s Metro escalators. They’re pretty much just stairs that occasionally move.

    Which, I guess, leads to why they need to take all the escalators out of service to replace them, which apparently because it’s Metro takes for-fucking-ever.

  • Im curious too. Esepcially since they have a sign on it that explains what they are doing and how it takes about 19 weeks or something. Im also curious as to how many times they have to keep repairing the street escalators on the GA ave North bound side? I have lived here for three years and every single month, one or the other is off and being taken apart. WTF? Does it just break again after being in use for two weeks. I am truly perplexed why they take them completely apart, seem to fix them, they run for a week and then repeat…for years.

    • I suggested to Metro some years ago that they switch the short and medium escalators to fixed stairs. The savings could be used to keep all elevators and long escalators in continuous service, and there would surely be a sizable savings on top of that, especially over time. Residents and visitors would also get more exercise (why do so many people ride the escalators and not walk at the same time?–but that’s another story) and the system certainly would be greener, meaning less spent on energy to run escalators as well. But I guess Metro found the idea impractical compared to the multimillion contracts for escalator rehab and maintenance.

  • It’s Metro. The fewer questions you ask, the happier you’ll be.

    “Welcome to Metro. Expect Delays in Both Directions (TM)”

  • Cross the street and use the South bond entrance. It seems to have a much better record.

    But to say “everyday or broken for a year” is a bit of a stretch, but nonetheless it is an issue for sure.

  • From the platform to the turn-styles? That one is turned off while the other one is replaced…

    They have new metal in there for the new one and most of the steps, but nothing else visible has happened for a few weeks.

  • Maybe you should ask Muriel Bowser, who’s on the WMATA Board of Directors, about this sheer incompetence.

    • She’ll tell you that it’s a very important issue that she’s extremely concerned about. She plans to look into it and take the appropriate corrective action.

  • Escalator outages really irk me, but what gets me even more is that this contract pays nearly $1.2 million PER ESCALATOR. Talk about sticker shock. I sure hope it includes post-installation maintenance.

  • i slipped in the petworth metro about 3 weeks before they announced the leak issue. i threw my back out and was in an incredible amount of pain. i went to the doctor, who had to put me on muscle relaxers. the whole thing was awful. i guess i probably have a case for a lawsuit. looks like in addition to doing nothing about the perpetually broken escalator, they have also done nothing about the leak either.

    • I wonder if you could file a small claims suit with the main goal being that they fix the leak and escalators?

      Metro — including these escalators — was why I didn’t vote for Bowser. Absurd that that is what passes for accountability.

      • Small claims courts can’t issue injunctions or order specific performance — they can only award money.

        • I should clarify that to say that in DC the Small Claims Branch can’t. Don’t know about other places.

  • Can we talk about the safety of the enclosures that they’ve put around the escalators there too (also at L’Enfant Plaza)? They are so wide that they really squeeze the passing areas on the platform. I’ve been nervous for months that someone is going to fall on the tracks when trying to pass someone standing by the big blue barrier.

    • I believe this is what happenedt o Zoe Barnes.

    • 1) Some people are clueless (or just don’t care) and insist on standing right where there’s the least amount of room for others to get by. 2) At least at Petworth I believe there’s more room to pass on the other side of the platform. You don’t have to walk down the narrowest side.

  • Escalator repair has got to be the biggest corruption scandal in DC history. I have seen extensive repairs done to escalators on my way to and from work and then I see them out of service a few weeks later. Then the repair company is back again. The owners of the contract must be billionaires by now. I wonder how much the Metro Board members have gotten for the contract? That’s a question, not an accusation, for all you lawyers out there. But where is the media?

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