Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Woodley Park Rider Recounts Yesterday's Chaos

Photo: Daquella manera

An eyewitness account of the Woodley Park station in the wake of yesterday's stabbing at the National Zoo.

From Jay:
Yesterday, around 5:30 p.m. at the Woodley Park station, I observed
hundreds of teenagers rushing the faregates to get down to the platform.

There were so many that they were getting backed up on the [broken] down
escalator, and police officers were stationed at the street entrance barring
anyone else from coming down.

That effort was too late of course, as the throng of teens who had already
entered were so rowdy that they were shoving and elbowing everyone out of their
path to get to the fare gates. Some were jumping over the gates, and others
were waiting for exiting customers to use their farecards and then push through
the open gate, shoving the paying customer out of the way.

One boy tried to do this to me, but I kept advancing through the gate and
said "excuse me, it doesn't work that way," and he backed up.

I became worried when I saw the enormous mob of people on the mezzanine,
between the fare gates and the street escalators. All were broken and one was
blocked off.

It was hot, in the 80s, and there were people completely stopped on the up
escalator wheezing and grasping the handrails.

I saw customers of all ages getting jostled, and the teens were shouting so
loudly I thought a riot was about to break out. They began chanting something
that sounded like "jump the tracks," and it kept getting louder until the noise
was unbearable.

I ran most of the way up the broken escalator just to get out of there.

I saw one police officer planted on the mezzanine and two on the street
level, but they were not effective. There needed to be at least four or five
more doing something to a) keep the teens from jumping the fare gates, and b)
protect the other customers.

I would not at all be surprised surprised if someone was hurt during this chaos.
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