Metro begins a nine-month project on Wednesday to replace the balky escalators at Dupont Circle’s south entrance, considered some of the least reliable in a transit network that relies on them more than any other in North America. The transit authority’s communications team said farewell Tuesday night in a unique way.
Social Media Manager Brian Anderson tweeted Sarah McLachlan lyrics and photos of the escalators Tuesday night. Riders, meanwhile, probably can’t wait for them to be fixed. Metro hopes to replace dozens of its 588 escalators over the next several years. Problems with the equipment — and the escalator repair department — have persisted since the 1990s.
Some users on Twitter joked that the tweets were bringing tears to their eyes. However, it was no joke in July 2010 when multiple escalator failures over two days sent crowds of riders trudging up the steep steps in the summer heat.
Readers may not recall the old escalators at Foggy Bottom receiving such a poignant send-off — but the single entrance at that station remained open as Metro began escalator work to replace failing equipment with moving staircases that actually move. It was the first installation of new escalators at an existing station in recent memory. The escalator replacement was completed in November, although work continues on the installation of a staircase.
Metro is closing the south entrance at Dupont, saying crews need the full space to work, although one escalator will remain available for use as a walker only if an emergency occurs at the station and riders need the egress.
Transit officials hope some of the crowds will divert to Farragut North to ease demands on the Dupont Circle north entrance.
Related story: Dr. Gridlock reports from Dupont Circle after the closure