Wiedefeld, We Have a Problem


Ally writes around 8am:

“Getting to platform at F. North is nearly impossible, everyone using escalators to go up”

Should they just officially make the station, or part of the station, exit only during the morning rush hour?

38 Comment

  • This station used to have these two escalators going up in the morning rush. They used barriers to route incoming passengers to the other side of the upper platform to go down the opposite escalators. It worked really well at the time (at least for someone who exited there).

    • Anastasia Beaverhausen

      Exactly. Now whenever there’s a really long line to go up the escalator and 2 of the 4 escalators are going down, I push the emergency stop button on one of them so everyone can use it to go up. It pisses off the people going down, but there are 2 of them and 200 of us.

  • It’d be a great idea to make at least part of the station exit only during the morning rush. But given that they cannot figure out how to reverse the escalators at the K Street entrance in the evening – two empty escalators going up, one completely packed elevator going down – I don’t have a lot of faith that they could do make it exit only in the morning.

  • This happens every morning and it’s especially bad when both trains empty out passengers at the same time. Sometimes there is one escalator going down and one going up, causing a crush of people at the one up escalator and dangerous crowding on the platform. Other times the down escalator will be shut off and people walk up it, causing people trying to get down to the platform to wait. Ideally they should make this exit (the one at K and 17th st) exit only during the morning rush hour.

  • You can see the way down to the platform at the far end in the picture. Takes about 20 seconds to walk over to that escalator..

    • And then a few minutes to cross both Connecticut and L to get back to this corner, if that’s where your destination is. I’ve timed this. It’s faster to wait in this crowd than to take a different exit and walk back.

      • That’s not what I’m talking about, I’m talking about going *down* to the platform. Isn’t OP complaining that they can’t get down to the platform because everyone is using the escalators to come up?

        • Yes, if that escalator is going down, not sure what the problem is. Given the number of commuters exiting the platform at rush hour, it’s reasonable to have 3 escalators going up from the platform and one going down to it. Frankly, if there are stairs (I can’t remember), it would be reasonable for all 4 escalators to be going up.

          • No stairs, just the 4 escalators from the mezzanine down to the platform. Very often though, at least one of the two escalators in the foreground of the picture is not running, which is when you see what’s happening in the picture – people just piling up the stopped escalator and not leaving room for anyone going down.

          • “people just piling up the stopped escalator and not leaving room for anyone going down.” — Exactly. This is what I used to run into very frequently at Farragut West when attempting to get from the mezzanine to the platform during morning rush.

          • maxwell smart

            There are not stairs, which is actually part of the problem. Stairs would do a better job moving people in/out of Farragut North as it’s not a very deep station. WMATA escalators are painfully slow (I think they intentionally slow them down), which is leading to this bottleneck.

          • Maybe it’s the New Jersey in me, but I don’t think this is that significant an issue. Make your way to the head of the stairs, and start going down. You have to be a bit of a bulldog, but when there’s only one way down, then you by default have the right of way, and it’s them that are being rude. Full speed ahead. I get that it’s a hassle, though, especially if you’re more timid than I am (or smaller).

  • Exit only would be not-very-convenient for people attempting to board at the station. My biggest gripe with Metro is that it seems to assume that nobody needs to get anywhere outside of 7am to 6pm Monday through Friday. Meanwhile there is an entire other economy that works nights or weekends, or relies on Metro to generally get around outside of normal business hours.

    • maxwell smart

      That’s because WMATA is essentially a commuter rail under the guise of a subway system, and is currently not really serving either function particularly well.

    • “Exit only would be not-very-convenient for people attempting to board at the station.”
      I used to have similar problems at Farragut West when attempting to get down to the platform during morning rush. (I lived in Adams Morgan, and the fastest way of getting to my job on the Orange/Blue line was to take the bus to Farragut West and board the Orange/Blue line there.) If they turned off the “down” escalator to the platform, sometimes I had to wait for an entire train’s worth of people to come up the escalator before I could get down it.

  • Appears to be plenty of room to go down on the opposite end of the platform in the picture

    • Based on experience, they’re both probably going down or something. If I had to bet on WMATA vs. everyone in this picture… it’s likely the riders aren’t wasting their own time.

  • So, just a regular day in the happy republic of wmata

  • Why don’t they just turn the down facing short escalators off during the morning rush hour?

  • Farragut North is one of the seven gateways to hell. When are they fixing the cooling in that station?

  • The problem is people are jerks. I get that it’s crowded, but that doesn’t mean you get to use both escalators. If both escalators are out, then put a sign by each one saying “up” and “down.” But who am I to judge, I’d be a-hole pushing my way down.

    • Agreed – if one escalator is stopped and essentially serving as stairs, then people should walk up on one side, leaving the other side open for those coming down.

    • maxwell smart

      I’m not really sure putting up a sign is going to help, given how well signage works on DC roadways.

      • Meh, it erases any doubt as to whether people are just clueless or jerks. And I meant to say “the” a-hole….which is probably obvious, but it was bugging me.

    • ” I’d be a-hole pushing my way down.”

      Honestly, that is probably what would have solved this problem.

      • It’s hard to get down a stationary escalator when people are walking up it two abreast. It can be done, but it’s a sloooooowww process.

  • This station design sucks so hard. I wish they’d build some stairs down to the platform off the mezzanine. There’s definitely room to install them so they empty out into the east end of the station.
    The problem is that always one, if not two, of the escalators are stopped and out of service. So all the emptying passengers use all 4 escalators/stairs and people going in the reverse direction of the commuters can’t access the platform.
    The ideal would be to switch escalator and gate directions based on the time of day. Instead, the station managers appear to be doing jack squat while a huge crowd tries to get through one or two faregates, or a person attempts to squeeze down the escalator steps while those trying to get out of the station barge past them. If there’s ever a terror attack at Farragut North, those in the station are screwed.

    • maxwell smart

      Let’s be honest. Almost all of the stations need to be modernized and reevaluated. This station is now 40 years old and was designed with a significantly smaller ridership and population. No amount of switching directions on escalators and gates is going to solve the problem – it’s a band-aid solution at best. Perhaps if WMATA wasn’t hemorrhaging money just trying to keep the system from self-destructing, there would be resources available to make some necessary infrastructural upgrades to the stations to improve traffic flow. Then again, with ridership at a 10 year low, as long as the system keeps falling apart, pretty soon the problem will solve itself. Fewer riders = less congestion in the station. Win!

      • “Almost all of the stations need to be modernized and reevaluated.”
        Not sure exactly what you mean but I can almost guarantee it’s not happening anytime soon. Aside from the fact that it will cost lots of money, they’re not going to make substantial structural changes to any stations unless there is an extremely important reason to do so. Crowding around escalators during rush hour certainly doesn’t come near that threshold. They’re not going redesign the inside of a station just because everyone at F. North wants to use the same escalator in the morning. Even if WMATA was in good shape financially and otherwise, it’s hard for me to imagine they would actually make these types of changes. It’s not like renovating a house.

        • maxwell smart

          Yeah – I know it’s not happening anytime soon (made that point very clearly I thought). That said, some of these stations are 40 years old and were not designed to handle the volume of riders (which incidentally is also part of the reason the system is breaking down). While this particular situation is crowding at rush hour, there are plenty of examples system wide (Chinatown, Metro Center) – that have really poor station layouts that create very dangerous situations. Would modernization be expensive? Yes. I don’t think anyone would say otherwise.

      • “This station is now 40 years old…”
        How old do you think subway stations are in other US cities? 40 years is young.

        • maxwell smart

          I come back to my point made above – the DC Metro is closer to a commuter rail then a subway system. Also, plenty of subway systems in the US have made improvements to station designs – adding tunnels, exits, etc. It’s not unprecedented.

  • Why can’t Metro speed up the escalators to increase their capacity to clear platforms like this?

  • The face of the dude in the blue shirt with white polka dots is haunting me.

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