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Excellent topic. I feel the same way you do, imagining how hard life must be for people with disabilities and the flimsy consideration given them by city officials, et al, who effectively double the curse. I generally pedal into the city and avoid metro, but on the rare occasions when I've found myself at the mercy of the elevators at Metro Center, I've been appalled at how slow they are. Disgraceful and unconscionable, to say the least.

BTW, in case it wasn't clear, I was using the elevators because I had my bike.

I use the elevators in certain stations (i.e. Dupont) because the steep escalator will make me ill. A disability? No, but I prefer arriving at my destination without the desire to hurl. That being said, if an elevator is full, priority customers first.

The new general manager of Metro, John B. Catoe, Jr., sounds like a good guy. He says he will use public transportation [buses some days, Metrorail other days] every day he goes to work. From an article in the _Post_:

"Catoe also said he would require all the members of the executive management team to use the system in their daily commutes at least some of the time. He has pledged to use it all the time."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/29/AR2007012900937.html

I wish the MD SHA employees were required to get out of their cars occasionally. They claim they try to "balance" the needs of motorists and pedestrians [I have written to them concerning mostly pedestrian issues], but in _deed_, they don't care at all about ped issues and make "improvements" to intersections which end up impeding pedestrians. Also, their "improvements" often don't meet ADA standards. Walk signal buttons are placed without regard to whether someone in a wheelchair could safely reach them. Even though I'm able-bodied, the intersection closest to my house has a button I hate to have to push [SHA POLICY REQUIRES PEDS TO PUSH A BUTTON TO GET A WALK SIGNAL--BUT MOTORISTS DON'T HAVE TO GET OUT OF THEIR CARS TO PUSH A BUTTON TO GET A GREEN LIGHT] because the button is only a couple of inches away from the travel lane.

A little bit of Metro history (from someone old enough to have ridden Metro on opening day). The HC elevators were an afterthought on Metro. The initial design work was finished prior to the passage of ADA legislation, the design presumption was that disabled individuals would not be able to use Metro any more than they can take the NYC subway. Then ADA was passed and Metro scrambled to re-design the platforms with obviously poor results. One could reasonably argue that Metro should have seen the legislation coming, but the bureaucracy being what it is, hoped to avoid doing what should have been done, with the result being an almost useless design.

I agree that the design of the elevators in Metro are a problem, but when you compare it to some other places, they are wonderful. (As an exercise, try moving from floor to floor - all the floors! - at the East Building of the National Gallery of Art not using stairs. Now, there's a nightmare!)

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