sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

July 11, 2008

my d.c.: 154
posted by soe 10:08 am

Dupont North Metro

One of the major frustrations of urban life is the broken escalator.

Over the last two weeks, at least one of the three 188-foot-long escalators at the north entrance to the Dupont Circle have been out of service nearly every day. On several occasions, all three have been out, forcing patrons to hike up and down 154 steps between the station and street level.

While it might seem that a broken escalator is identical to a staircase, unfortunately it’s not quite true. Stairs are built with a rise-run ratio factored in — the up vs forward motion a person must make in order to climb; a comfortable ratio is figured to be between 30 and 35 degrees. An escalator is built (obviously) to be used while it’s moving, so its speed is calculated into the rise-run ratio. That’s all a very complicated way to say that stationary escalator steps are steeper than a standard flight of stairs, which is why it can be tiring to climb up the escalator when it’s broken.

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