red light district.

News today that Metro has decided to install the new red platform lights currently at Gallery Place-Chinatown at L’Enfant Plaza, with six more stations (including Union Station) soon following. This is good news, as the red lights are significantly less expensive and require less maintainance. While admitting that they are more a cost-effective option, City Desk (see above link) disagrees with the reasoning for the switch, providing the following reasoning:

…no study has been done on the lights’ role in increasing safety. It just happens that the general manager, who was already inclined toward red platform lights, thinks they might change riders’ behavior. Even if this is true, the red LEDs are a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist: Metro trains don’t hit people standing on platforms…

The addition of the red LEDs indicates how profoundly Metro’s current management doesn’t understand the system’s design. And that probably means that more assaults on it are to come.

I don’t understand the issue. Metro has a huge deficit, and Catoe gets shit for trying to solve it? This is what I can’t fathom about people’s complaints with WMATA – any attempt to change the current system gets dumped on, and any attempted fare increase gets dumped on even more. People, they need to save money somehow or generate more revenues – something has to change. Of course “more assaults on it are to come” – people can’t get over the fact that a change has to happen!

I’d rather have no fare increase and red lighting than any other scenario. Hey, if it cuts down on safety issues too, that’s a bonus. City Desk is right – there isn’t a proven safety reason for installing the lights – but that’s inconsequential.

…[Metro] architect Harry Weese and his team were careful to also make the system elegant, and not a scary-looking industrial site with barriers and warning signs—or blinking red lights.

Those who don’t think Metro stops look like industrial sites in the present state are kidding themselves. They’re made of 100% concrete! Give me a break.


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