Improving safety wasn’t a driving factor for renovating stations, but it is one that figures into many of the decisions Karadimov is mulling.
Making the stations brighter is not only helpful to those who have trouble seeing signs or stairwells, but for security cameras trying to spot suspicious activity.
When the fare card vending boxes lining the entrance to the Bethesda station are replaced, they will likely be installed into a wall panel that reaches from floor to ceiling, doing away with certain blind spots.
Replacing concrete parapets along the top of stairwells with glass would have also provided more transparency and visibility for passengers, but for the CFA that was a nonstarter; Luebke called the concrete parapets a “beautiful” element to the stations.
“They’re very expressive, and they’re kind of a nice, almost organic piece within this very austere and geometric station design. So we’re very interested in holding onto those. We think they’re very characteristic pieces,” he said.
Station manager kiosk
The booths where station managers operate are filled with communication and security machinery that Karadimov said no longer needs to be located in such a highly trafficked corridor. He has proposed moving it to a wall panel elsewhere and building slimmer kiosks that would allow space for more fare gates.
“The idea behind this new design comes from the operational needs of providing the station manager with only the space he needs for those functions,” he said. “There is way too much room inside that kiosk for a single person to operate and that is driven by tons and tons of equipment that is currently inside the kiosk.”
The existing Bethesda kiosk is the shape of an octagon, though that is not nearly as recognized or appreciated as the hexagon tiles on the floor. Karadimov has proposed an elliptical shape.
The color brown
“Metro Brown” is the color of the stations from the pylons outside indicating an entrance to the station, to elements throughout the mezzanine and station platform to portions of the exteriors of trains themselves. The station’s signs, trash cans, newspaper bins, fare gates, fare collection machines and many other items are either blanketed or trimmed in brown. Because there is no “Brown Line” the color provides a neutral, connecting theme for the stations on every line.
But if the stations are to get brighter, Karadimov said, brown cannot continue to be the dominant color. “We’re not going to keep any brown,” he said. “We believe that having a lighter color will help make the station more bright.”
Like the bronze, brown unquestionably contributes to the placid feeling of the stations, but Karadimov said it contributes just as strongly to views that the stations appear dated. Whether the agency will have to retreat on the color brown as it did on bronze has not been decided.
Karadimov also has not formally proposed a color to replace it. He talks about light gray and silver, which he said would make signage easier to read, but without stainless steel to pair it with he may have to reconsider.