Friday, November 20, 2009

Cleanliness a Point of Pride, Except at Deanwood


One good thing you can consistently say about Metro is that it's pretty clean. That's why we were surprised to hear about the following.

sherrieindc, frustrated by the garbage strewn about the Deanwood station, started taking pictures.

Her photos, of which there are many, were noticed on Twitter by Sylvia C. Brown, ANC7C-04 Commissioner, who was prompted to write the following Ann E. Chisholm, Assistant Government Relations Officer at WMATA:

"Deanwood Station users have commented about its cleanliness and other issues like graffiti-tagged newspaper bins and rider seating, urine odors, and overflowing trash receptacles at ANC7C meetings. I've included my fellow Commissioner, in whose SMD the Deanwood Station lies, on this message. We hope that this communication will be a signal to WMATA to increase monitoring and maintenance of the station and the grounds. Please do not hesitate to let us know how the ANC can be partners with WMATA on this and other matters."
WMATA's response was:
Commissioner Brown,

Thanks you for bringing this issue to our attention. Due to staff vacancies, we have not been able to provide the quality of cleaning that this station demands. This vacancy has been filled effective November 15, 2009 and you should see immediate improvements in the overall cleanliness at the station. We apologize for the maintenance problems and please contact me if you have additional concerns. If you have other concerns about the maintenance at this station, please contact Superintendent Linwood West. He can be reached at 301-618-1076 or You may also contact me at 202-962-2877 or by email at

I am forwarding the pictures to Metro’s maintenance staff.

Again, thanks for bringing this to our attention.

Ann Chisholm

Sounds like a reasonable explanation, right? But the rub, as always, would be to see if WMATA actually did anything about it. They gave the problem some good lip service, but in the end, their actions didn't quite back up the words.

sherrieindc said things were slightly better at Deanwood, but still unacceptable. Garbage, she said, was still littering the parking lot, and as the photos show, there was a marginal improvement in the overflow at one of the station's garbage cans. We don't know about the urine.

It should be noted that Deanwood's upkeep is in stark contrast to East Falls Church, our "home" station, which is usually about as spotless as a subway station could be expected to be.

Other items:
Weekend bus and rail delays (WMATA)
Metro Board acts with common sense (WaPo)
SmartBenefits changes delayed (WaPo)
Metro experimenting with "warning signal program" (WMATA)
Jeter: "WMATA is attempting to feed pieces of information to the media suggesting that we are going to strike." (ATU 689)


Anonymous said...

I am impressed with Metro's overall cleanliness especially considering how many riders seem to not understand the concept of "trash can."

Anonymous said...

I guess Metro gets some kudos here. I guess. Hmmm. Maybe not. Why the difference bw the stations hmmm?

Anonymous said...

I don't see a lot of cleanliness issues in the Metro stations that I use, but once you leave the station and go to the WMATA-owned parking garage, things seem to go downhill quickly. At least at Wheaton, the walkway to the garage always has gang grafitti in it. They clean it periodically, but new grafitti shows up right away and sticks around long enough to let them mark their territory.

And I often hear about cars being broken into and vandalized in the parking lot itself, which would seem to indicate that they need to be spending more time keeping an eye on it.

Dan Franzen said...

The stations are usually pretty tidy... but the trains themselves rarely are. Metro decided to chase the money and allow the various newspapers to hand out freebies, so there's more litter on the train than ever before. Having said that, though, at least there's little to no wet garbage (i.e., food related).

Anonymous said...

True, rare on the wet garbage but watch your step with the empty plastic bottles rolling on the floor.

Dan Franzen said...

That's true - there are plenty of rolling (empty) bottles. I'm not sure what Metro could do to prevent that, though, outside of putting some kind of receptacle in the car itself. And with space at such a premium, that seems like a luxury.

(Although I wonder if they could have some kind of recycling receptacle set into the wall of the car.)

Anonymous said...

Given the terrible job market, it seems odd that Metro would have such serious staff vacancies. You'd think that people would be lining up to apply.

J. Thomas said...

What is it specifically about Deanwood that's making it such a problem to keep up with? Is another maintenance position required or is the new hire not keeping up to scratch?

Though to be entirely fair, if they've just dumped a new hire into a position that's been vacant for a while, they've had to hit the ground running (I'm trying very hard to give them the benefit of doubt). Maybe the station will improve if given a little longer?

Deanwood Denizen said...

J Thomas and Anon 1:45am, I'm on the same track as you. The system should hire p/t workers to fill in the gaps. Hmm, I wonder if the ANC needs to partner to hold a job hiring fair?

Thanks, UDCM for following through on this reporting! Do you know if WMATA, its Board, and CM Jim Graham monitor & respond to your blog? My thought was that the phase is to start including Graham & other WMATA Board members on these emails.


Deanwood Resident said...

As much as I hate to say this, Deanwood as a neighborhood has a trash problem, and my front lawn can vouch. Many of the inhabitants use public trash cans instead of taking out their trash bins on scheduled days. I'm not sure how much of the owness is on the people who do things such as urinate and dispose of trash any old where and WMATA who just can't seem to stay on top of the issue. It's probably a little of both. Minesotta Ave isn't really much better...except their you have an influx of crime. Choose your poison

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