Both the May 17 front-page article "Standing on the Left? You Must Be on Vacation" and several May 20 letters in response said that Metro officially "condemns" walking on the left side of the escalator. But the wmata.com Web site states, "When riding the escalators, stand to the right, walk on the left."
The blood lust of rush hour aside, I generally see courteous escalator interactions, to the point of slower walkers walking on the right of an empty escalator to let the sprinters take the left.
We shouldn't abuse tourists, but why not expect the same behavior customary to roads, sidewalks and bike paths?
Perhaps Metro's policy on escalator walking and running is impractical [letters, May 20] and should be reviewed. But we can't dismiss its safety aspects.
When I ride down the long escalator in Rosslyn Station during rush hour, as many as 50 other people also are riding the escalator. Sometimes when I am passed by a runner (and I admit, some are superb, graceful and like greased lightning -- better than any in London or Paris), a nightmarish scenario flashes to mind:
What if one of these runners tripped and fell? He could knock over other people and create an avalanche of people sliding, tumbling and falling down the escalator. Such an accident hasn't happened yet and may never happen. But that is what safety is: no accident.