Washington, D.C. Metro Stairs

Jul 31st, 2010, 08:14 AM
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Washington, D.C. Metro Stairs

We are a couple of 50-somethings and one of us with a bad knee (old skiing injury). I can walk long distances but stairs can be a challenge. Are there escalators in most stations of the Washington, D.C metro? Any info you can provide will be most appreciated. Oh and we are considering a hotel near the White House if that info helps.
Thank you very much,
Scootoir is offline  
Jul 31st, 2010, 08:20 AM
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Ah, this is a tricky question. Yes, all of the Metro stations have escalators and elevators, BUT often they are not working. If one is working, however, it is usually working up and not down. There has been a lot of justifiably negative press about the escalators recently.
artsbabe is offline  
Jul 31st, 2010, 09:27 AM
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IIRC there were elevators in most of the stations as well as escalators (which, as artsbabe notes, sometimes were not working.) I was there in May.
azzure is offline  
Jul 31st, 2010, 12:34 PM
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Yes, the non-working escalators and elevators are a big problem for Metro here in D.C.
If you have access to a computer during your stay, you can check the status of the elevators and escalators on the Metro website. Go to www.wmata.com and in the bottom left-hand corner of the homepage is "Metro Service Status". Click on "Elevators" and you can find out which stations are having problems with elevators and/or escalators.
longhorn55 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2010, 12:59 PM
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How interesting that working escalators seem to be an ongoing problem. Do you think it has to do with aging equipment? We were concerned that there weren't many escalators(as we found in Paris). We had hoped for better disabled access in the home of ADA regulations. Hm? Do we really want DC to take over our health care? ;-)

Thank you for sharing the website, it should be very helpful.
Scootoir is offline  
Jul 31st, 2010, 02:03 PM
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Well, yes, now that you mention it, I AM in favor of a single-payer system. As to the escalators, one problem is that the company that made the parts is out of business, so the Metro shop has to make replacement parts. Another problem is that many of the station to exterior escalators were exposed to the elements. Now, they've put really nice glass canopies over them. And, age does play a role, too.
artsbabe is offline  
Jul 31st, 2010, 04:38 PM
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The single payer in charge of Metro hasn't fixed the nonworking signal system that killed nine people over a year ago, but they've increased fares three times since then. A problem with the suggestion to check the website for nonworking elevators and escalators is that many of the nonworking escalators aren't even broken, they're just turned off, and they don't show up.
EricH is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2010, 06:19 AM
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Metro is locally controlled and always short of funds. c
Current problems are the direct result of design decisions made 50 years ago (very long escalators that are subject to the weather and many more users than anticipated then), deferred maintenance in the 35 years the system has been operating, and the shortage of sources for replacement parts.

Every station has both escalators and at least one elevator. Though escalator shutdowns are very common, it is rare for a station to have elevator and escalators out of service at the same time.
kayd is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2010, 08:26 AM
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Compared to other big city subway systems, DC is actually pretty good when it comes to accessible station and escalators.
MikeT is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2010, 09:13 AM
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As MikeT says, you'll do better re: accessibility in DC than most other cities. It's worth checking the website to note outages, but there shouldn't be TOO many with both elevators AND escalators out at the same time. Only problem is that sometimes the elevators are at some distance from where you want them to let you out.

Always wondered why the Metro designers allowed so many of the escalators to be open to the weather.

DC is not even the equal of a state when it comes to Federal management. It's more an occupied territory with no clout at the federal level, and many MANY challenges at the local level.

(As for the argument re: single-payer system, it's really not fair to hijack this thread about that. Take it outside, and those who actually know how health care insurance and delivery work can wrassle you right to the ground on the subject.)
Cyanna is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2010, 09:20 AM
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Please don't block the left side of Metro escablators. That is the walking side
vjpblovesitaly is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2010, 09:52 AM
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Shuttle service to another station is offered when an elevator is out.
yestravel is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2010, 10:00 AM
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DC is not the federal government, it's a district. DC is hardly running anyone's health care. This may be news to you, but the President of the US is NOT the mayor of Washington, DC. Your comments are ignorant and show no knowledge of the government.
Christina is online now  
Aug 2nd, 2010, 10:57 AM
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Actually, Congress has a tremendous amount of authority for how Washington DC is run in its day-to-day affairs, unlike the 50 states. So DC's failings as a city (and we don't have that much space to lay them out) reflect much more directly upon Congress and the President than, say, the failings of Oakland or Camden.

Last check, the ADA was signed in 1991, after the Metro was built.

As for the Metro -- it's better than the Subway in NYC for access issues and certainly better than the Tube in London. Of course, being 70 years younger than those (or so) helps.
BigRuss is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2010, 11:10 AM
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Actually, Congress has a tremendous amount of authority for how Washington DC is run in its day-to-day affairs, unlike the 50 states.

Authority is not the same as involvement.
Cyanna is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2010, 12:21 PM
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BigRuss - u must be joking...do u live in DC and know how its run and the internal politics of the city and in the case of the Metro the DV/VA/MD area???

The Washington area metro is ADA compliant--Its escalator do break down and sometimes its elevators have problems. Alternatives are offered when this occurs...incovenient but they do comply with ADA and always have.
yestravel is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2010, 01:03 PM
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Metro's governing board is made up of elected local officials from DC and nearby city and county governments in Md and Va, plus two representatives of the federal government who are transportation people, not elected politicians (this fed representation fairly recent). Congress appropriates some funds for Metro, but there is no federal control of the system, and no national safety standards for it or any other local rail systems.
kayd is offline  
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