The ride up the north escalators at Dupont Circle used to have a dramatic view coming from the darkness into light:
The view was equally dramatic at night:
This bank of escalators is the 6th largest in the Metro system, going down for 190 feet – a long and exposed ride in the rain or snow.
As any Metro rider knows, the breakdown of escalators is frustratingly frequent, and the exposure of the escalators to weather makes breakdowns even more likely. So to make the system’s escalators more reliable, Metro is gradually installing canopies over all existing escalators, and it’s now Dupont Circle’s turn. The canopy changes the formerly dramatic view to this:
It’s actually still a dramatic view of the sky once the escalator passes under the canopy:
And it still looks great at night:
But wait, doesn’t this canopy look open to the elements? You’re right, there’s no glass there yet. The project was originally scheduled to be finished by early 2020, but the contractor supplying the 200 glass panels went bankrupt. The completion date has now been pushed back almost two years, from early 2020 to late 2021.
The green wood fence still remains around the street side of the escalators, with high-up holes providing a tiny view of how it will look from this side.
Metro’s goal is to have the canopy be consistent with the look of the iconic vaults of the Metro stations. The canopy will also have lights installed, which will illuminate the Walt Whitman quote on the entrance walls. The planters on the sides of the escalators, which have always looked a bit shabby, will be replaced by an art installation under the Art in Transit program.
The walls of the entrance will remain unchanged, but we’d love to see it sometimes used for light projections, like this time that Art All Night lit up the wall.
We’ll have to wait at least a few more months before seeing the project completed and the surrounding plaza re-opened, so keep your umbrellas handy in the meantime.