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BREAKING NEWS — Ambulances Dispatched to Rosslyn Metro Station

by ARLnow.com October 11, 2011 at 6:42 pm 20,704 120 Comments

(Updated at 7:35 p.m.) A massive emergency response converged on the Rosslyn Metro station around 6:30 tonight after medical emergencies related to overcrowded conditions were reported.

The station was packed with passengers after Orange Line trains were halted for a person struck by a train at the Clarendon Metro station. Firefighters at the station requested a mass casualty response when several people reportedly requested medical attention while trying to climb the station’s long escalators, which were all out of service. Firefighters and paramedics from Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax County and Ft. Myer were dispatched to the station, according to emergency radio traffic.

Paramedics reportedly treated at least one person suffering an asthma attack. It’s not clear how many others were treated. Crowds at the station have thinned out since Orange Line trains started running again, according to firefighters on the scene. Most of the emergency response has been put back in service.

Traffic in the Rosslyn area was reported to be at a standstill as emergency vehicles made their way to the station. Virginia State Police was dispatched to the area for a report of pedestrians crossing Route 50 between Rosslyn and Courthouse.

Photos via Twitter users @jessicamdick and @soxinly

  • Wow

    This seems similar to what happens on the beltway. One accident and the entire beltway is jammed and backed up.

  • Frank

    People can’t make it up the escalators because they’re out of shape. I’m an old fart and it’s a pain in the rear to get up those stairs – lots of heavy breathing and thinking to myself…”need to get my XXX to the gym once in a while”.

    • jenn

      have you seen the escalator at rosslyn? i’m in fine shape, but that thing terrifies me – when it’s working! if i tried to walk it when it’s stopped, i’d probably freeze half way.

      • Skeptical

        Oh, for pity’s sake! I’m nearly sixty and I jog up those things, when I come that way, just to say I did. You suck a little wind, but it’s good for you. During my days working in office buildings nearby, that was my morning workout.

        That said, I don’t expect the same performance of people with asthma or similar ailments, but if our local level of fitness sees those escalators as a deal-breaker, we are in serious trouble.

        • jenn

          for the record, i said nothing of being winded. it’s the steepness and height that freak me out. thanks for “reading.”

  • Sheila

    I work at 1000 Wilson and there’s a steady stream of emergency vehicles passing by. Traffic on Ft Myer and N Lynn streets is gridlocked.

  • Sue

    Yep., at Lyon village park. mass of rescue vechicles left cherrydale. I was wondering why there was so much traffic on n.Garfield. Just read about the Clarendon metro incident.

  • realreform

    I have never seen so many fire department, emergency, and police vehicles in my life.

  • Tabby

    Good grief!

    Sounds as though Tabs picked a good time to be out of DC for a couple of weeks.

  • miranda

    It’s mass chaos in Rosslyn. I live a block from the Metro, but I can’t get a good view of exactly what’s going on.
    Thanks for the update, this is the only place where I have been able to find anything on what’s going on

  • Sheila

    ArlNow is the only outlet reporting this. Thanks for doing such a great job!

  • Ben

    So it seems properly functioning escalators would have avoided a lot of these issues. Who would have thought??

    • drax

      They likely turned them off because they are dangerous to be running when overcrowded.

  • Mark Powell

    Just got home from Rosslyn. The station was dangerously crowded. The sole metro official on the platform was on a walkie talkie but complaining to the crowd that they wouldn’t listen to him, they just kept unloading trains. One cop on the platform but the crowd control was non-existent. I’ll be surprised if there aren’t several injuries resulting from the evacuation. Absolutely shameful!!

    • John Fontain

      Based on the pictures, it looks like the crowding problem was made worse because Metro continued to let customers enter the Rosslyn station via the (non-working) down escalator.

  • What an awful experience. Yes, some people may be out of shape, but there was a lot of elderly people who were trying to make it up the steps. There were also a lot of healthy seeming people waiting for the elevator. Just b/c they look healthy doesn’t mean they are, but I bet a lot of them should’ve been on the steps.

  • MC

    Wow, these pictures say everything about the crowding. Maybe a few people we able to wait out the chaos by heading to the Artisphere and enjoying a drink while waiting for things to calm down. Rossyln deserves to be known as a place that people can enjoy, not just pass through. My sympathy of all who have been inconvenienced.

  • Mark: Agree completely.

  • TC

    When is the county board (and surrounding counties/cities serviced by WMATA) going to do something about Metro’s poor management? Throwing money at it is not working. One person on the tracks should not take down an entire region’s transportation system.

    BTW – the tweets from Metro have been hilarious tonight. BA and DS obviously aren’t proofreading or fact checking. Isn’t that Communications Management 101?

    • STee

      AMEN. Let’s hope that our County is held accountable to ensure our citizens are safe. This is a heavily used station, deep underground.

      • Thes

        Exactly right. Our County government should definitely be held accountable for improving egress at Rosslyn. It’s very important to our community. So important that even if it means making deals with nearby developers to dig extra high-speed elevators, even if it means putting in local tax money, the Board should get off it’s collective ass and make sure there are serious, expensive, difficult to coordinate public-private partnerships for major infrastructure improvements at this location.

        Oh, wait. They did do that. It’s all under construction at this very time, in fact. Good for them I guess.

        • TC

          Point taken but I was more talking about getting Metro’s totally inept management under control.

  • DanvilleMayor

    Metro blew it tonight.

    All the escalators in Rosslyn were turned off so everyone had to walk up extremely slowly. And the police and fire response was out of proportion for what was happening.

    That in turn caused massive traffic jams and the responding vehicles clogged the streets.

    I walked home to Clarendon. Long trip to get to the house.

    • JASDCA

      Totally agree. I was stuck in gridlock on Lynn Street over by River House. I saw about 8 ambulances, including ones from Falls Church and Alexandria’s Advanced Life Support ambulance go by. The insane number of emergency vehicles (I stopped counting at 20) was causing a lot of the gridlock.

    • Ted Williams

      This is light years beyond Epic Fail. Metro and Arlington County just declared open war upon Metrorail commuters through their criminally incompetent response.

      • Armchair QB H8TR

        Im confused as how the fire department’s response to a reported mass casualty is “incompetent.” Unless you are some type of public safety official who is well versed in this county’s response procedures, and unless you were listening intently to the police and fire radio traffic, I don’t see how you have a foot to stand on to call an inconvenience to your afternoon commute an “incompetent response.” How many people have to be injured for a delay in your commute to justify such a terrible waste of your time?

        All too often on this site people who obviously have no public safety experience go on these rants blasting the police and fire departments for the way they handled a call. There is a lot to public safety that Joe Public doesn’t know about (or NEED to know about, for that reason), and regardless of how much Rescue Me, ER, and re-runs of Emergency we watch, we will never truly know the nuts and bolts behind how these organizations operate. Remember, these were the same men and women who responded to the Pentagon on 9/11, I think they have a pretty good handle on what they are doing, regardless if it makes you miss the first 15 minutes of your favorite sit com.

        Does the FD and PD make errors? Sure they do, they are human. But every call they go on, the underlying commonality is that they are dropping what they are doing, no matter how important, to go help someone that they have never met, with total disregard for their own well being, and for THAT, we should simply tip our hats and let them do the work that they are trained to do.

        • JLB

          +1,000,000,000. Thank you for that. They should’ve just closed the comments after you posted this. I cannot stand the quarterbackers, either…

        • Thes

          Inherent in situations like this is a “fog of war” in which no one (neither the public nor the first responders) has perfect or sometimes even adequate information about what’s really going on. Often what seems like a gross inconvenience or even danger to some citizens is in fact better than the alternative that seemed to be available to those in charge.

          For example, if you have 10 full trains of people backed up behind a person injured on the train tracks, if you are the head of WMATA which of these should you do?

          a) Tell the station manager to shove the injured person out of the way so the trains can proceed

          b) Tell the train operators to hold where they are for 90 minutes to 2 hours, even though with 10 packed trains, someone aboard is bound to have an asthma attack, bladder failure, or worse.

          c) Tell the train operators to evacuate their trains in the tunnels, dumping 3000 people onto electrified tracks in the dark

          d) Tell the train operators to *back up* their trains, even though the trains do not have rear view mirrors, and the computer system cannot determine where the next train behind them will be.

          e) Tell the train operators to go to the nearest station in front of them (but before the accident site) and drop off all their passengers, even if the station is crowded.

          And so on, for each of the other decisions that have to be made such as:

          What should the single station manager do when the safety switches shut down the last two functioning escalators at Rosslyn, each one of which is packed with 250 people?

          Should the emergency stairs be reserved for paramedics coming down? Or commuters coming up?

          Where should Arlington 911 send the limited number of ambulances? When 200 people simultaneously call 911, how many of them are really for the same sick person?

          Etc, etc.

          • The only credited response

            “a) Tell the station manager to shove the injured person out of the way so the trains can proceed”

            This. Hands down.

          • drax

            Yes, God forbid you should be inconvenienced while they try to save someone’s life.

          • CW

            Best post of the thread. Everyone is complaining about what happened, but there was no viable alternative. When you have a limited-degree-of-freedom system such as, oh, some trains in tunnels, there aren’t really a lot of options. People think about complaints and about themselves, and they spout off high-level implausible solutions, (Oh, there should just be a third set of tracks!) but no one ever thinks about logistics.

            The biggest thing they could have improved logistically would have been to shut down an area around the Rosslyn station and get crowd control going to prevent the escalators from shutting off due to overcrowding. And better announcements. I was one muffled announcement away from ending up at the cemetary stop because they’d started bypassing Rosslyn.

          • Stacy

            How about option F) Have half the orange line trains offload at Arlington Cemetery and have shuttle buses from there AS WELL. (or once Rosslyn obv became dangerous all of them from that point on).


            G) Stop running orange line trains for 2 hours tell everyone to wait it out at work, get a cab, or get a bus. Completely by- pass Rosslyn once its at capacity. Reopen the orange line when the situation is resolved.

            Both would still be inconvenient for riders but would have prevented the DANGEROUS situation metro put its passengers in.

            I think both of these

        • drax

          Yes, this armchair quarterbacking of the response has got to stop.

          A single person hit by a train can quickly become…thousands of people stuck in trains with no ventilation, or thousands stuck in a station, or a panicked mob. As we saw.

          • Stacy

            The issue is that unfortunately and sadly people jumping in front of metro trains is not an isolated incident they should have better protocols, policies, communication plans in place.

        • KS

          I was in the thick of the crowds on the lower platform. After being on the platform for ~20 mins, I phoned Transit Police requesting crowd control around 5:50pm as train passengers were still being let off the trains with nowhere to stand on the platform. very dangerous. I was told Transit Police were there and taking action. I saw none – the only staff I saw were the 3 station folks. I wasn’t able to leave Rosslyn station until after 6:25 (indeed, an hour is not ‘horrible’) and still saw no Transit Police. At 6:45 or so, police and ambulances arrived. I do see this as a failure as, once the decision to empty trains at Rosslyn was made, WMATA should have immediately dispatched staff to direct persons and traffic flow. Instead, they arrived approx. an hour after the assistance was needed.

  • info81

    This country is dangerously out of shape. I bet there are people out there who have never seen the inside of a yoga studio. Those elevators should be only for the ill,older folks and people with children.

    • TC

      @Info81, I run 20k a week and even I sometimes feel a bit out of breath after I walk up the escalators at Rosslyn (and I walk up them every day). When I passed through the station about 10 minutes before this all went down 3/4 of the escalators were in service. There was NO reason for the other three to be taken down as a response to what happened at Clarendon. If anything, one of the operable “down” escalators should have been switched to “up” to get people out of the station faster.

      • KnowItAll

        Reason they stopped the escalators was to slow the herd who were bottled up at the top and in the street. If you are evacuating an emergency scene, keep walking. Don’t stop at the sidewalk and whip out your Iphones. That’s the same scenario that killed so many people at the Station Nightclub fire in Rhode Island. Everyone headed for the front door, then enough people stopped just outside and created a jam up of bodies in the doorway. Good thing this wasn’t a major terrorist attack or disaster. Show some consideration and common sense and keep moving several blocks away from the station.

        • jim

          There is a world of difference between panicky people trying to escape a nightclub with one exit, and people being shoved out on a street. Stopping the escalators was gross incompetence. All it did was trap people in the station, where a stampede COULD have occurred if anyone panicked. Especially since metro kept dumping more and more people out onto an already overcrowded platform.

          • Thes

            My, how easily you are willing to *know* there was “gross incompetence”. According to WMATA, the escalators apparently weren’t even shut down by a person.

            “Metro chief spokesman Dan Stessel … said that at one point the escalators at Rosslyn “apparently turned themselves off as designed due to the extreme crowding.” Technicians were dispatched to try to fix the situation, he said.. Stessel said he knew of no injuries beyond the man struck by the train at Clarendon.”

          • TC

            During the inauguration I remember I paid to enter at Rosslyn station but did not swipe my card to exit at L’Enfant because of severe crowding. Why couldn’t that have been done yesterday in order to expedite the evacuation of people at Rosslyn? The escalators going down should have been turned off, yes, but the one that was operating going up should have been left on. Gross incompetence.

          • CW

            Can you not read? Or use your imagination? Thousands of people were milling about at the plaza above Rosslyn station. And if the escalators kept dumping people into the area at a constant, unvarying rate? Do you really think that would have been a good idea?

          • drax

            CW is right.

            Here’s an example of what can happen when too many people are on a moving escalator and can’t get out of the way in time when they reach the end:


          • TC

            No, CW, I can’t read. Have you considered Valium? Chill out.

            Escalator situation aside, Metro demonstrated gross incompetant here. Their Twitter feed was absolutely hilarious/embarrassing. “DS” and “BA” didn’t seem to have any clue what was going on and were constantly correcting each others tweets for about three hours last night (several stations were announced as closed, then open, then closed again, etc). There were no Metro staff on hand to direct the crowd at Rosslyn, which compounded the issue. Metro is ill-prepared for even the simplest of problems. So, get upset and personally attack me if you want, but it’s the truth.

          • KnowItAll

            point taken. That still doesn’t change the fact that people need to stop thinking they’re the only one’s in the world and that there aren’t thousands of more people that need to exit the Rosslyn station. My only point was don’t stop at the station entrance to call hubby to come pick you up. Walk a couple of blocks away from all the chaos, then whip it out. I’m not trying to say this is on the same level as the Station nightclub, but people stopped right outside the front entrance as soon as they got outside and that’s when the bodies started to pile up at the front doorway.

          • drax

            Moving escalators that are overloaded = people tumbling over each other. Or stopping automatically due to the overload of weight. Either way, they have to stop for safety.

            More armchair quarterbacking.

    • k

      What does a yoga studio have to do with being in shape?

  • Rachel

    Why were all the escalators off at rosslyn? Broken?

    • ArlingtonAaron

      My guess, not being there, is that with crowding so thick, the escalators would have been firing additional people into a massive crowd stopped at the top of the steps, which obviously would have quickly created a real mass casualty event.

    • Shane

      Station Supervisor told the police that the escalators couldn’t handle all the weight caused by the mass evacuation.

  • Charles

    Is METRO unwilling (irresponsible) or unable (incompetent) to explain why the escalators were turned off? Both?

    • Shane

      They weren’t turned off, but were broken – ALL FOUR.

      • Laura

        The problem was that at first, they had two escalators going up (turned off) and two escalators going down (turned ON). The escalators going up definitely need to be turned off to deal with the crowds, but they should have shut down the entire station sooner. The people being spit out by the down escalators had nowhere to go once they got down. Finally after about 20 minutes of watching this, they turned one of the other escalators into an up escalator and soon after, shut the station down.

  • Ballstonia resident

    Ever think the escalators just straight up broke due to too many people on it?

  • B

    The escalators were probably turned off on purpose, massive crowds and the top and bottom and confusion with some people turning around halfway up because they heard service was restarted, it was probably safer to turn the off and engage whatever safety locks they have than risk a stampede or crushing event

  • Jacob

    Someone at Metro should stand trial for the state of the system’s escalators.

    • drax

      The dolts who refuse to pay it enough money to maintain them, you mean?

      • not a dolt

        By dolts, you mean the riders, right? Yep – Metro SHOULD charge close to what it actually costs per person per ride to operate – to include escalator upgrades & maintenance, re-cap of train cars & busses, track maintenance. They know roughly how many riders use the system each year, where riders entered and exited and they know what their expenses are each year.

        Or did you mean the Metro leadership who suffer a failure like this every year. I could live with them making reparations too. It’s a shame Zimmie is no longer part of that poor excuse.

        • drax

          No, not the riders. Not Metro leadership either. Still stumped?

          • not a dolt

            Ohhh. Okay – you mean to have the majority of commuters in the area who don’t/can’t use it to funnel tax money to the localites to subsidize it because it can’t stand on its own two feet. Gotcha.

  • STee

    Gosh – AMEN.

  • J

    It increasingly amazes me how badly Metro is run overall, considering what terrific ridership levels we have, and how modern the underlying system is. Compared to most major cities (NYC, Boston, Moscow, Paris, even London!?) who have far worse tunnel systems to deal with, our trains seem to have more delays, worse oversight and lower levels of service than we should. It would be interesting to see a factual comparison, but I would be shocked if we aren;t toward the bottom of the rankings..

    • CW

      Guess what all those systems have in common? They lie in a single jurisdiction!

  • Just Me

    I drove to work today, there was an accident between Main Ave and the 14th ST bridge, it took me 30 minutes to get past the crash. I cab rear ended someone; I hate cab drivers.

    When I got to Arlington when I was on 10th ST I saw the trucks leaving station 4 and saw more when I got to Fairfax Dr. I got home and went to the FedEx office and saw a crowd a Ballston and wondered what that was about. In the FedEx office I saw a few Metro police cars go by. That is when I checked Twitter and found Arlnow updates. Good job arlnow.

    Really was a bad day for commuters.

  • Forget “Occupy Wall Street!”

    It’s time for Metro riders to make a serious statement about the way this system is operated! I HEREBY DECLARE ONE WEEK FROM TODAY (TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18TH, 2011) TO BE “FORGET METRO” DAY! I urge everyone who normally rides metro to find some other way to get around that day. We need to show Metro how much money they’ll lose from riders if they continue to operate without regard to the needs of their customers–from serious health and safety issues to simple disregard for the inconveniences they cause.

    Please spread the word! DO NOT RIDE METRO ON 10/18!

    If conditions don’t improve, let’s make this a monthly event until they do!

    • SlickWilly

      great idea, try riding a bike!

    • 4Arl

      Unfortunately they won’t “lose” any money. All their money comes from taxes and fares, which they just keep on raising to fill any shortfalls. Metro’s structure has made accountability nearly impossible.
      But if you’re trying to send a message, you might consider voting alternative on November 8th.

      • SB

        Exactly. It’s not like Metro is a for-profit entity. Finding alternatives to metro is great and all, but don’t expect it to do anything to inspire change in the organization.

  • chris

    Here is the rundown on my 3 hour commute from Capitol Hill. Red line ok, announced problems , sign said expect a 2 hour delay. Orange line train said it was stopping at Rosslyn, but when we got to Foggy Bottom the told everyone to get off, but the train kept going. two trains later, got to Rosslyn at least a 20 minute wait to get off the bottom platform. they announced the station was closed. got to the monstro escalator which I was told by one of my 10000 closest friends is the third longest escalator in the world. climbed it as none were working, Got to the street more mayhem, shuttle busses were not orginised and no one directing where to go. A lot of people looking confused and a lot of mis information, from Metro and from regular people, People just needed direction. Then all the emergency equipment started to arrive. It seemed to me they we blocking the buses which were not clearly going to balston, then a cop came up and said the metro was running again, so down the escalator which was then running down and back on the orange line to Balston but had to wait for a bus…. someone owes my dog an apology.

    • EMSLuver

      Wah wah wah. Did you come out of the metro to find men raping and murdering your family? Were you immediately infected with diphtheria upon emerging? Do you have a job to go to tomorrow, still?

      You people are disgusting and need some perspective.

      Know who really had a bad commute? The people who got home to find a voicemail saying their daughter/mother/sister had been so profoundly mentally ill that she jumped in front of a train.

      • chris

        my bet is they already knew it….

      • Metro Blew It

        Sorry, this was a grossly disproportionate EMS response.

      • TC

        Oh get over yourself. Metro is poorly managed. End of story. Go find another soap box to stand on.

      • AllenB

        Perfect response to the know-nothings. Thank you.

    • DCCHughes

      So let me get this straight… The train stopped at Foggy Bottom and you were told to exit the train. But you didn’t get off because no one MADE you. And then you complain because when you get somewhere you weren’t even supposed to be at the time, it was inconvenient for you. I love how accommodating everyone was last night in handling simple directions. You want to call Metro incompetent? How about the adults in the situation how couldn’t follow basic instructions, presumably given for their own safety.

  • JimPB

    A story in a major media publication reported on how the Moscow metro, which operates 24/7, keeps its escalators, which are essential to that metro’s operation, operating. If that media report is true, our approaching third world status Metro needs to learn what the Moscow metro is doing right — one lesson that I recall is that escalator work is done 24/7 (in spite of throngs of passengers around the escalators) until escalators are returned to service — and then implement those policies and methods here.

    • jim

      APPROACHING third world status??

  • JimPB

    P.S. to my posting above at 8:49.

    Here’s the URL for a Washington Post story about keeping the escalators for Moscow’s metro running: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/14/AR2010121406132.html

  • Shane

    I was stuck in Rosslyn station for at least an hour and half. There were so many things went wrong:

    1. The PA system needs a desperate upgrade. None of us knew exactly what happened. Twitter was the only way of communication during today’s incident.

    2. No visible Metro employee inside the station

    3. Orange Line shouldn’t offload all the passengers in Rosslyn, and it should stop letting people in a lot sooner.

    • Lauren

      Not only did the trains offload in Rosslyn, but so did all of the shuttle buses which were carrying passengers from Ballston, VA Square, Clarendon and other VA stations. We were told to get off in Rosslyn and take the metro into DC. Obviously that wasn’t possible since there was no way to get downstairs to the trains in Rosslyn with the massive crowd coming up the stopped escalators. I ended up walking home to Woodley Park.

  • chris

    The questions I would like to ask are
    Why stop at Rosslyn? It is a very difficult station to get people out of.why not Courthouse?
    Who closed the Clarendon station? I heard it was the fire department. Why couldn’t they single track, It would have been slowed but much less confusing?
    Why doesn’t Metro have a plan B and a way to implement it? Why were there no personnel guiding people to shuttles….?
    I was part of disaster drill at Rossyln Station a while back, Metro didn’t seem to be following the plan…..any plan….
    I have lived in a number of cities and am comfortable with mass transit. But things like this shake the confidence in riding Metro…..Imaging a real disaster…..

    • CW

      They stopped at Rosslyn because I believe Rosslyn has the switching mechanisms needed to allow trains to turn around. The Clarendon station was closed because there was a technical rescue and it was a police scene which would probably require evidence collection, etc. They also probably (if they were smart) turned off the high voltage to the tracks and Clarendon to avoid electrocuting any firemen, which would prevent trains from running through.

      It looks like metro had a plan B, as best as it could. Shuttle service was set up, according to alerts, between Rosslyn and Ballston pretty darn quickly – less than 20 minutes after the incident. Unfortunately it was overwhelmed, and I would imagine the mass of people queueing in front of Rosslyn station led them to shut off the escalators to avoid a pileup.

      I agree that Metro had a pretty terrible showing, but let’s place this where it lies – with upper management. For as much crap as they get, most rank and file metro employees I see do a pretty darn good job. It’s the people up above who are supposed to be coordinating for this sort of thing that need to catch the heat.

      • jim

        Every single experience I have had interacting with a metro station manage has been positive.
        Every single thing I have seen about how metro is managed has been disgusting.

  • CarFree-Notme

    And who was on the Metro Board for years and was just recently replaced?…..Chairman Zimmerman!!!

    I would not wait around for an apology from him or the Board.

    And yet arlingtonians still vote for him.

  • PhilT

    My condolences to all who had to endure this unfortunate situation, but sadly, all of my remaining trust in the Metro system has left me.

    Car-free? Not a chance.

    They can build lines out to whatever points north, east, west, and south the Feds want to help fund, but with the cost, the wait, and the ineptitude, I’ll take my chances in my vehicle.

    • drax

      For many people there are more choices than just Metro or car.

  • Henry Ford

    Welcome to the car free world, Arlington.

    • drax

      Yes, because there are never huge backups on the roads. :rolleyes:

      • Henry Ford

        That isn’t the point. The point is we shouldn’t expect perfect rail service all the time. This stuff happens, yet all I hear is complaining. Being car-free doesn’t mean being problem free. Duh!

  • Bender

    This is what you should expect when you willing make yourself dependent upon your government master — routinely inconvenient and unreliable, and potentially a death trap.

    • Get Real Bender

      Who do you think owns the roads, genius? The road system collapses around here all the time as well, whether its snow, rain, an accident, construction. All people against public transportation always forget that roads are also public transportation. And, unlike the Metro, they are free, so they are even more heavily subsidized. If you don’t like government, move to Somalia. No government there. No law and order either, but that seems to be your preference.

      • well said


    • drax

      Bender, that describes our highways perfectly.

  • MattB
  • JimPB

    Metro has its problems, but travel on the roads I travel in is marred by back-ups and delays — and periodic horrendous tie-ups — the biggest one, caused by a combination of snow and ice, resulted in massive delays and gridlock, with motorists abandoning hundreds of cars (stuck in the snow/ics, went off the road and ran out of gas).

    Bottom line: Our transportation SYSTEMS are severely overloaded, so an accident or a breakdown can and cause severe disruptions such as that experienced this evening by No. Virginia riders on Metro’s Orange line.

    I would be interested in well considered proposals to address the problem.

  • Steve

    To the next person of thinking of jumping on the tracks, besides the trauma you cause to the train driver and the rescue people, think about how you screw up the days of others. Say if someone had a heart attack from climbing the Rosslyn stairs? If you want to die, OD on pills, don’t jump in front of a train.

  • Steve

    So do you people feel safer because of bag searches? If someone getting run over causes this, imagine what a terrorist attack would die. they might as well have cyanide pills on board for the passengers.

  • Ellen

    The regular bus (no shuttle appeared) we got on in to get to Rosslyn was stopped there for 10-15 minutes with no information and surrounded by a thousand people anxious to get on it, too. Then the driver was told to take us all to BALLSTON NO MATTER WHAT and NOT TO LET US OUT BEFORE THAT even if we lived in Rosslyn. After a near riot, she let some people off a block up WIlson, then who knows what happened next. ABSURD.

    • belljoyce

      Was this about 7:30? I saw a regular bus stop short of the bus stop on Wilson (near the Safeway) and people running for the bus. I was waiting for my ride to come pick me up and thought about trying to jump on but thought against it so as not to strand my husband and kids. As it turned out, it took them over an hour to get to me because all the traffic was diverted and there were emergency vehicles EVERYWHERE. (I also witnessed the woman collapse on the escalator. It didn’t look like an asthma attack to me so maybe it was someone different). I also saw some brave souls carrying full suitcases up that escalator (in heels no less!)

      • Ellen

        no. probably around 6:30.
        We didn’t pick anybody up (no room)

  • Clarendon Bill

    I was stuck in the Rosslyn Station for a solid 45 minutes, and it was clear that the bottleneck inside the station was caused principally by people vainly trying to get in. They ended up blocking most of the exitway for the hordes coming off the trains who were trying to get out. If Metro had quickly closed the station to folks trying to get in off the street, then much of this nightmare could have been avoided. I hope WMATA draws on the lessons learned from this incident to improve their emergency planning efforts.

    For those commenters who are essentially saying, “Suck it up. It was just a lousy commute,” I think you’re mistaken. Metro’s poor communications and failure to provide sufficient security/crowd control made for hazardous conditions at Rosslyn that could have resulted in many more injuries. Metro’s mismanagement didn’t just make the commute inconvenient; it made it dangerous.

    • Steve

      How would metro have handled an emergency like a terrorist act?

    • belljoyce

      I was there with you for about 45 minutes, saw a woman who was sick on the escalator and causing a bottleneck for the middle escalator. This morning when I got the Washington Post, I thought it would be front page news. It didn’t even really make the Metro section.

  • Steve

    I think it’s Glenmont or some other stop on the redline that doesn’t even have escalators. What would happen if they had an emergency and you could only get out using the elevators? presuming they were even working.

    • KnowItAll

      It’s the Wheaton station, and if the elevators are out, you’re left with emergency evacuation stairwells. Good luck with that.

      • glenmontgirl

        Actually it’s Forest Glen. And I’ve heard those emergency evacuation stairwells are 40 flights. Talk about mass casualties!

        • novasteve

          London is basically like that. I recall on occasion using the “emergency” staircases at edgware road which are spiral staircases. Now with the obestity problems, that would probalby be a complete nightmare with the sideways stair climbers on a spiral staircase.

        • KnowItAll

          you’re right, my bad

  • u

    I think there was just too much excitement for Artisphere and panic ensued.

  • KnowItAll

    Does Metro have an emergency plan for situations like this? I think it would’ve made more sense to suspend blue line service coming from Pentagon towards Rosslyn, then have all trains (orange and blue) skip rosslyn and go directly to Arlington Cemetery for shuttle bus pickup. There is a lot more space at Arl Cemetery, and a very wide, lightly traveled roadway up top that could fit a lot of shuttle buses and pedestrians. It’s also open air and has direct access to GW Parkway, Rt. 50, and Washington Blvd. I think that would be the ideal fallout stations for major incidents occurring in Rosslyn or Pentagon stations.

  • STee knows nothing

    Go get on your soapbox somewhere else, your comments on these last 2 articles are dumb. We get it, you want government reform, try to get your point across somewhere else. It does not matter how many fire and police personnel showed up at this scene. Each has a specific task to do at the scene. How are you an expert at management of scenes such as this? You are not, so why try to sit there and plan out an appropriate response from your keyboard? You do not know the first thing about an appropriate response, yet you fire off comment after comment like you are an expert. Fire departments utilize other jurisdictions for coverage assistance, so no coverage was lost by ACFD responding to the original incident. FFX, Alex, Airport, etc. all are put on alert that ACFD is responding to an incident and their assistance is needed to cover future calls for service. Those agencies also arrange coverage for their jurisdiction in case there is a need to cover Arlington. So, everybody gets covered, nobody is left unattended. As for the response, each responder has a task at the scene. And it is always better to call upon more brains to think strategy at the scene rather than just relying on one person. Did you ever think that perhaps ACFD uses these incidents like training? They do not happen that often, and real life incidents are always better training than at the academy, so maybe ACFD had more people there so they could learn the protocol in a real life setting. As for ACPD/Metro PD, all unattended deaths in VA are treated as a homicide until proven otherwise, per the Medical Examiner. So, until PD can determine the person jumped, and was not pushed or it was an accidental fall, they need to treat it like a potential homicide. This means interviewing each person on scene, away from all the others so as not to influence. So, can one officer do that? Some of those may have been the higher ups, like the Captain of the district it occurred in, but I highly doubt each of the supervisors was going to do anything to assist, just observe. But, again, does it matter? Who cares if over 100 responded, it does not matter, nor does it stink of bad government. VASP responded to Route 50 since it is STATE Rt.50, not county Route 50. It is their job to patrol and monitor Rt.50, ACPD just does it cause it is in the county. But the primary responsibility lies with VASP. not ACPD. I doubt all this will clear it up for you, you are set in your ways that the world wuld be a better place if your ideas were followed. You are not an expert on everything just because you watch Cops, CSI, or ER, and certainly not an expert because you made 20 outrageous know-nothing posts on this blog.

    • Al Gore

      Paragraphs are a real thing.

    • AllenB

      Very well put. STee doesn’t know a thing. Thanks for pointing that out.

      But yes, breaking this into a few paragraphs makes for an easier read.

  • Sigh

    I’ve never understood why Metro didn’t adopt barrier technology on the outset into their platforms. The “technology” has been around since the 60s.

    It seems so obvious. It would mean more space for emergency signage and wayfinding and would probably make the stations quieter and cleaner, on top of being safer.

    Paris, London, Brazil, China, Japan, Spain, Russia…


    • Steven

      You think they have door problems now? It will be impossible to get a train moving if they can’t even see the lights due to the barriers. Metro’s trains are fundamentally flawed and until they get 4 doors per car, it will be impossible to do this. Just get prepared for periodic massive delays when people choose to com mit suicide on metro.

    • KnowItAll

      Kings Dominion and Hershey Park have barrier protection!

  • SDC

    At some point, a metro manager angrily screamed over the PA that the station was closed and we all had to get out of the station (we were trying, that was next to impossible at that point). As I was finally climbing the escalator, a cop comes down yelling that the station is open and the orange line is running to Vienna. That caused a herd of people to abruptly stop and start running down the escalator without any awareness of who was behind them/the consequence of people falling on top of one another down a long, steap escalator.

    This all to say that metro employees and APD needs to have some serious crowd control training…. among everything else.

  • KnowItAll

    There is no “over-response” to incidents. FD and PD have standard operating procedures as well as incident categories that classify the level of response. Rescuing someone from an electrified trackbed under the middle of a subway car, in the tunnel mind you, requires a substantial amount of resources. A lot more then picking up Grandma from her cozy living room when she’s had a belly ache for 3 days. There is a lot of heavy equipment needed at the incident and requires a lot of back and forth runners to stage those tools. Then there’s whole controlling of the crowd, setting up a safe zone, and ensuring that the power is shut down. Just like a call for a house fire gets a set number of resources based on the way it is reported. If the caller “sees smoke or fire”, then it gets the full assignment. Once the first units arrive on scene, they make the determination of scaling down the incident. That’s why emergency vehicles turn OFF their lights and sirens and turn around to go home.

    On large scale incidents, once a gap in coverage is created, it is quickly filled by transferring companies.

    If you don’t have any factual information (STee), then quit Monday morning quarterbacking. PD and FD do an awesome job, Metro needs to step up their game a bit.

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  • There

    Things went very well. Viable patient and very respectible people on the train. Thanks


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