The Case for Redundant Escalators

Sound Transit
“Sound Transit University of Washington Station, 2018 winner of The American Institute of Architects Awards “Interior Architecture” (not “Ample Escalators”) category

The Stranger‘s David Cole isn’t too happy with Seattle’s Sound Transit System’s design that didn’t account for redundant escalators. It posits that if one escalator stops working, half the station is essentially inaccessible. Cole continued, citing an incident covered in The Seattle Times, “If more than one escalator fails, the entire station is functionally crippled, resulting in scenes like this past August, when more than 200 people were trapped inside the UW station waiting to exit.”

Cole brings up some good reasons for more escalators, which we already know are good investments when manufactured well and installed in the proper locations. He also identifies another safety issues prevalent in transit stations: emergency stairs that are “somewhat hidden.” The pic below is of the London Underground’s Canary Wharf, where one can find a good example of escalator redundancy.

The London Underground (unlike Seattle’s light rail system) has redundant escalators, as you can see in this photo of the Canary Wharf station.

1 thought on “The Case for Redundant Escalators

  1. I’ve been working on escalators for over thirt years. And I always said there needs to be at least one extra (redundant) unit. Either in case of break down, or as and alternative when one is being repaired or maintained.

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