Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

'This entrance will close,' Metro warns at Dupont Circle

January 11, 2012 - 09:00 AM
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(Photo: John Hendel)

We've got about 20 more days until Metro closes the Dupont Circle station's south escalator entrance. Why? To replace them. And it's going to take like eight months, WMATA predicts.

But like I said on Dec. 30, WMATA wants to make absolutely sure riders know that the set of escalators will be closing. The element of surprise always amplifies bad news. Hence Metro released video, brochures, and devotes a section of its website to answering questions about the situation, all available about a month and a half before the closure.

I journeyed down to Dupont Circle this week to investigate just what Metro had done on the ground to prepare daily riders, many of whom couldn't care less about the website or Twitter or anything else. They're just commuters looking for a convenient ride. The best way to reach the riders who truly rely on Dupont Circle is to inform them at the station itself. Multiple signs, I'm happy to say, do alert riders that the south station entrance will close. Within the station is the electronic sign above, which alternates between a few lines of text and tells riders to go to the WMATA website for more details.

The other big sign I saw was outside:

Chocolate strawberries
(Photo: John Hendel)

These outreach efforts a good minimum expected effort that go along with the work to come. The language is all humble and open: "We apologize for the inconvenience," WMATA says in the above sign, "and promise to finish the job as quickly and safely as possible." Let's hope. The transit agency has attempted to make its signs more professional over the course of the last few months in general.

Few riders will likely see the signs without a little bit of disappointment and frustration, but at least they now know.

More than eight months is a long time to decommission escalators, especially at so busy a station, but the signs should help prepare riders and perhaps even change commuting patterns around Dupont Circle, at least for a time. Farragut North, Farragut West, and Foggy Bottom are all under a mile away.

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