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So on Wednesday morning, the lovely people at WMATA issued a press release stating that the Takoma station will continue to close at 10 p.m. every night until July 19th.  They amended the statement with another one this morning, stating that tonight, the station will stay open until 3 a.m., the normal closing time on weekends, making travel slightly easier for a day.  It’s understandable that the NTSB needs as much time as possible to investigate the June 22 crash.  What makes less sense is the announcement for an overhaul of the Red Line that was planned prior to the crash.  Because what is being fixed, according to The Washington Post, does not seem immediately necessary, especially if it’s going to cause even more delays on system’s busiest line.

The renovations to the system will cost $177 million (only $80 million more than anticipated last summer!) and will take upwards of 4 years to complete, beginning in early 2010.  Among the important tasks of the renovation are:

  • New escalators at the south entrance of Dupont Circle – Please, slow down this exit even more.  And give me an opportunity to walk up and down that ridiculously long escalator when it’s not running.
  • Upgrades to the air conditioning and ventilation – Does the Metro really need to be colder?  Maybe when the trains are filled to capacity, which will only worsen when the Red Line starts single-tracking to solve this issue.
  • Rehabilitation of the Rockville and Shady Grove platforms – What does that even mean?  Re-grouting the tiles?  Adding a few benches?
  • New staircases, escalators, and a canopy at Foggy Bottom – A canopy?  Really?  Get an umbrella.

The other planned maintenance seems more on track, if you’ll forgive the pun.  Like an upgrade to the automatic train controls and track maintenance and fixing the tunnel ventilation and fire equipment.  Maybe those should be the primary focus.  Because it’s always better to prevent train collisions than to prevent getting wet while entering the station.