Looking Back at a Megaproject


Structural bracing near the portal just north of WMATA’s Grosvenor station; image courtesy of GWU Archives via Greater Greater Washington

Subways and commuter rail systems are important transportation options in most of the large cities in the U.S. They help reduce roadway congestion and the pollution produced by automobiles and, because they are either underground or elevated, they provide quick and efficient travel throughout metro areas. And, as we all know, thanks to the Americans With Disabilities Act, their stations and platforms are equipped with vertical transportation: large-capacity elevators and heavy-duty escalators that keep people on the move. In a nostalgic look back at the genesis of one of the nation’s best-known metro systems, website Greater Greater Washington has posted photographs documenting the construction of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metrorail system serving the Washington, D.C., area, the first segment of which opened in 1976. The digitized photographs were released by the George Washington University (GWU) Archives, and include a rendering of the Wheaton Station escalators, the longest single-span escalators in the Western Hemisphere. If you’re into construction photographs, these will give you a fascinating look behind the scenes at the work involved in creating the nation’s second-busiest metro system.

Stand Right, Cats!

We are all familiar with the escalator etiquette rule of “stand on the right” so that others may “walk on the left” (and although walking on an escalator is an unsafe practice, I don’t see our society agreeing to this anytime soon). Just recently, the BBC reported that London Tube operators will be testing this rule through mid-December.

Well apparently this is a problem on the DC Metro as well (especially during ‘Tourist Season’). If only a local DC jazz musician would help produce a tune to really get the message across. Enter: Aaron Myers and his soon-to-be-released song, “Stand Right.”
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