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A New Staircase For Vienna Metro

County, rail officials unveil new structure at Orange Line's busiest station

On a typical weekday, 13,682 customers board Orange Line trains at the Vienna Metro Station.

By the end of the day, Metro estimates just as many travel back. And until this week, those some 27,364 passengers filed onto just two escalators and an elevator, creating gridlock on the platform and a bottleneck at the exit gates -- neither of which are ideal day to day, let alone in an emergency.

On Thursday, Fairfax County and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority officials unveiled a new staircase both to improve access to trains and offer customers more options at what they called the busiest station on the system's Orange Line.

"It's a safety issue as well as a matter of convenience," said Fairfax County Sup. Linda Smyth (Providence), who cut a grand opening ribbon across the staircase entry with Sup. Cathy Hudgins (Hunter Mill), WMATA General Manager Richard Sarles and WMATA Rep Jim Dyke (Virginia), who noted the stairs also offer an option for riders looking to add more movement into their day.

"It's great exercise," he said.

The $1.7 million staircase, paid for with part of a $2 million bond approved by Fairfax County voters,  took nearly a year to complete: construction began in June 2011 and ended this May.

It's the second staircase added by the system this year, said Metro spokesman Dan Stessel. Another set of stairs were added further along the Orange Line at Foggy Bottom Station, alongside the three escalators at that station's single entrance.

"This is an indication of what happens when you work to improve transportation," Hudgins said. "We're excited about the improvements and this really represents the partnership between Fairfax County and Metro -- we're looking to make this an example of [how other improvements can happen]."

For photos from the ceremony, click through the media gallery above.

Jo Ko June 01, 2012 at 10:49 AM
Why 33 stairs took 11 months to build and why said 33 stairs cost the tax payers $51,515.51 a stair baffles my mind. A uniformed audit of WMATA is clearly necessary.
Soccer86 June 01, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Metro is so ridiculously inefficient, both in the work that it does and how money is spent. How can they continuously congratulate themselves, not on a job well done, but a job that gets done months after it should have been done?
Kara Harkins June 01, 2012 at 12:43 PM
They paid 1.7 million for a staircase? That took a year to build? For a station that does not require tunneling or anything. No moving parts so mostly all they need is a hole and cement. I am in the wrong field of work.
Didi Snavely June 01, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Metro should be embarrassed to hold this ceremony for a staircase that took a year to build. And Fairfax County should be embarrassed to be associated with this nonsense. Where where they in expediting this ridiculous staircase? Had it gotten done in a more realistic time frame, maybe it wouldn't have cost so much. The inmates are running the asylum...
Fix WMATA June 01, 2012 at 01:47 PM
The public paid $2M for this staircase that took 1 year to build and WMATA had the nerve to not invite the public to this sham-show of a ribbon-cutting?
John Kuchenbrod June 01, 2012 at 03:15 PM
I hate to cut Metro some slack, but I really hope that the $1.7M figure included the work that they had to do on the elevator to reconfigure it--they had to go from a two-entrance elevator cab to a one-entrance cab since the base of the stairwell blocks where the platform entrance for the elevator used to be. Also, the stairwell had to be built around the elevator--it isn't like the stairwells at West Falls Church and other places. Having said that, there were long periods of time where there wasn't any apparent work, especially in the time before they installed the handrails. Also, the barriers that were installed made it nearly dangerous to be around any train on the south side of the platform--the edge of the barrier was practically over the rumble tiles.
MJSKSS June 01, 2012 at 04:12 PM
This is absolutely downright embarrassing -- I take the orange line from Vienna every day -- it took them ONE YEAR to build a 33 Step staircase???? ONE YEAR and $1.7M dollars? It takes less then 90 days to build a Boeing 777 from first part to delivery. It took two years to build the Eiffel Tower. Someone has a lot of explaining to do....
Alison June 01, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Did anyone else notice they built the stairs leading up to the back of the elevator? There's a gap on the right of about 3/4 feet to funnel people through. The year they took to build this I stood at the bottom pondering where they're going to move the elevator to. Can you imagine a rush hour when the escalator is not working and and trains offloading passengers to climb stairs and squeeze through the gap? Most days I feel like Metro is run like a small third world country. I should know... I'm from one after all.
Ron June 06, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Imagine Supervisors Hudgins and Smyth were actually proud to be at a ribbon cutting for yet another example of the waste that goes on in this County with taxpayers money. They are an embarrassment as is the entire Board of Supervisors. You are our elected officials who are supposed to use the tax money you gouge out of us wisely, and here we are spending borrowed money to build a stairway of 33 steps at a cost of over $51,000 a step. You are nothing short of thieves stealing money from the taxpayers of this County. This is a wasteful use of tax money. When are you going to become responsible citizens of this County and stop this nonsense?

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