Reader "tempsperdu" made the following observation at L'Enfant Plaza:
I complained to a Metro kiosk attendant [yesterday] that Metro had closed one of two escalators at one of the L'Enfant Plaza exits. A GINORMOUS crowd of people was trying to fit onto the ONLY working escalator which, by the way, was turned off and was being used as stairs!
There is a heightened mass transit alert against terrorists!
The two Metro kiosk attendants looked at me and then resumed their conversation.
The Washington Post is reporting that "authorities in Washington and elsewhere were stepping up safety patrols on mass transit systems in response to an advisory issued in connection with the probe" of an Afghan man arrested in Colorado with a possible connection to a terrorist plot.
Metro, in a press release, strikes a slightly different tone:
"'We have no specific information from intelligence sources that would lead us to believe there is a threat to our system at this time, yet MTPD officers remain vigilant,' said Metro Transit Police Chief Michael A. Taborn. He added that there are no plans to institute random bag inspections."
Regardless, if there ever were an emergency, there are more than a handful of stations that would be pretty hard to get out of if a quick evacuation was needed.
The two stations we frequent the are East Falls Church and Federal Center SW. EFC is above ground, but Federal Center is below ground and served by only two escalators--not two sets, two--and an elevator on the platform level, all are usually working. It's never that crowded, but on the rare occasion when two trains pull in at the same time, there's quite a clusterfuck at the bottom of the escalators.
Many stations were not built to handle the crowds Metro now transports daily. Gallery Place/Chinatown, is a nightmare to get out of at times and Metro Center and Archives have both been known to present egress problems during "normal" rush hour. What would they be like in a panic? How would emergency crews get in?
What are some other Metro bottlenecks you've noticed?
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