- Welcome to your functional future. (Photo: flickr/brownpau)
In all the frenzy over escalators last week, WMATA promised that the Foggy Bottom Metro station would receive some brand new-and-improved ones by today, July 11th. The charm offensive makes for good damage control after all the escalators broke at Foggy Bottom just a few days ago and caused what were apparently breathtaking back-ups in the system as riders tried to escape from the depths. The first escalator, located on the far left as you exit the station, has been replaced as of this morning, and all three escalators are now functioning. It's the first escalator to be completely replaced on the Metro system in more than a decade, according to Metro.
The Foggy Bottom station has suffered more wear and tear than many Metro stations because it only has one point of entrance and exit for customers. As we saw last week, the results can be a little gnarly, as maintenance workers pulled rotten sandals from the machinery.
The first photos and video of the new Foggy Bottom improvements are emerging as the first new escalator is installed today.
One rider snapped a couple photos of the new escalators with this morning on his iPhone. You can see an up-close view of the new escalator in the shot above, though the rider expressed a little confusion in her accompanying tweet. But the canopy is coming, according to Metro, as is the staircase.
The timeline will unfold as follows, according to Metro chief spokesperson Dan Stessel: First, we have this new escalator on the left, which has been installed a little further over; starting as soon as Wednesday evening, work will begin on the second escalator. Each escalator requires about 15 weeks of work. They'll demolish the old one and add in the new. "This'll make room for the staircase," Stessel told me, which will be located on the far right and ready in the coming months. "And then we'll install the canopy." The canopy should be ready by the winter, he said, and the new escalators should be able to endure the elements in the meantime — they're better equipped to handle the environmental stress than the old ones. All this work at Foggy Bottom will cost around $6 million, according to Stessel, and comes from the broader $150 million effort to rehabilitate the system's escalators. A Metro Forward fact sheet details when other escalator improvements, such as at Union Station and Wheaton, will be completed.
Another shot reveals, rather hilariously, a stream of what the photographer alleges to be tourists entirely missing the new escalator because it's still obscured by construction.
- The new escalator hides behind a barrier. (Photo: flickr/brownpau)
As all this has transpired, Metro's Stessel has attempted to exert an admirable level of control over the narrative as he feeds Metro customers and media different bits of news via the @metroopensdoors Twitter account. This morning, he was also tweeting out photos showing a functional set of Foggy Bottom escalators as well as a video of what's been happening. Control is the one factor that Metro would want to bring to the table with their work, and Stessel, a couple months into the job, has often managed to deliver that.
See Metro's vision of functionality in the photo and 35 seconds of video the institution offers below: