by Marlene Berlin
What was it like at the Van Ness Metro station on the first day of the west entrance’s closure?
There was no warning signage at Windom Place for Connecticut Avenue pedestrians heading toward the station from the north. Many had already been funneled to the west side due to the closed sidewalk at Park Van Ness on the east side.
So the great majority of people crossed Connecticut to the open east entrance at Veazey Terrace or mid-block near the closed Metro entrance.
If WMATA’s escalator project manager is correct, we can look forward to the Van Ness west entrance reopening (temporarily) in about two months time. But still leaves two months of greater potential for driver and pedestrian conflicts along this busy stretch of Connecticut.
ANC 3F Commissioner Mary Beth Ray did not waste any time contacting DDOT, MPD and WMATA. She wrote:
“With this morning’s closure of the Van Ness Metro west entrance has already come expected pedestrian issues. In particular, people on the west side of Conn. Ave. walking south are crossing in the middle of the block, between Windom and Veazey Streets.”
She makes these recommendations:
Around the same time, an NBC4 news van was parked on the sidewalk beside the west entrance, creating a barrier for pedestrians trying to get to Veazey to cross the street (here’s the story the crew did on the closure). This may have contributed to pedestrians crossing mid-block.
And that was not all. A little after 11:30, WAMU news tweeted this photo indicating that east entrance had also been closed to commuters for a time:
Van Ness Metro closed. pic.twitter.com/d8iIi67w4j
— WAMU 88.5 News (@wamu885news) June 22, 2015
Ann Chisholm, WMATA’s government relations officer, responded by email: “We are operating normally at Van Ness. They (emergency personnel) did respond to a report of a problem with an insulator, but there was no action required, and we are operating normally.”
She did not respond to the question about whether the station had to be shut down.