Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

Descend into Metro the fun way—from planking to slides (videos)

July 20, 2011 - 10:33 AM
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Wouldn't you rather slide down? (Photo: flickr/muohace_dc)

Metro is a series of ups and downs. People enter the stations and descend. They exit and ascend. Back and forth and often navigating escalators that are busted. Shouldn't the process have a little fun to it?

Shortly after arriving at On Foot, I mentioned one possibility: piano stairs for the Metro, which would play musical notes as commuters walked up and down them. Sweden features such a stairway in one of their stations.

But D.C. does have alternatives to bringing fun to the Metro climb. In the last couple days, I've seen two big ideas for how people might better enjoy their descent into the abyss. First, let's forget Sweden and look to a Dutch idea that involves sliding to the train, which I read about earlier this month in the Amsterdam magazine Pop-Up City. Apparently there's a Metro station in the Dutch city of Utrecht that features what the country officially dubs a "transfer accelerator" — or what we might call a sweet slide that lets riders skip the long sets of steps.

Would this work anywhere along the Metro station? God knows there's countless times I wish I could just skip the long climb up or down a Metro escalator and reach my train fast. Most in D.C. probably have that day when they're busy and they wish they could fast-track their way through the stations. I doubt the slide could ever exist alongside the big drops, as tempting as that might be. Could you picture a giant slide in the Rosslyn station? I'd love the chance to zoom down to the platform, but I would hope there's plenty of cushioning for the landing. But I bet a slide would work well side-by-side with some of the shorter escalators.

And then there's the people who take advantage of the Metro's various planking opportunities. Yes, that's a thing.

Via Unsuck DC Metro, a recent video shows a few commuters frustrated with their delays and exploring the ways to plank on the Metro escalators.

Sadly (thankfully?), I can't report ever seeing such a sight on the Metro trains myself. What I have seen are various riders who use the Metro escalator handrails as either a slow slide or a way to ascend up. People do climb up on the equipment with little regard to its intended use (are the mechanical failures that result all that shocking?). Several other videos highlight brave souls who have enjoyed planking on their escalators all over the world.

Fun enough ... but I hope I never run into any Metro plankers during rush hour. The slide though? That I'll take.

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