The Oct. 31 front-page article "Steps for Survival" was timely and informative. What I cannot understand is why Metro didn't cover all the stations years ago.

The article quoted Metro board of directors member Cleatus E. Barnett saying about open Metro stations, "I would not call it a bad call at all." One needs to be caught only once in the rain or snow on the escalator at the Dupont Circle Q Street entrance to realize what a terrible mistake leaving the stations open to the elements was.

Does Mr. Barnett believe that sweeping vistas take precedence over the riders' protection from the elements, their safety and the maintenance of the escalator system?

In addition, why can't Metro speed up the escalators and ban "left lane" walking, running and jumping? Passengers should not be allowed to move on the escalators, except to get on and off. All that walking, jumping and jostling puts a strain on the system.

Metro should cover all of the exposed station entrances immediately, provide sump pumps at the bottoms of the escalator stairwells and increase the speed of the escalators so that passenger movement -- except to get on and off -- is unnecessary. These changes would do a lot to end Metro's escalator problems.

JOSEPH H. FITZGERALD

Chevy Chase