Loud Noises! Metro Explains That Awful Sound

It’s the escalators, and the transit agency says there’s a reason for it

Thursday, Jan 20, 2011  |  Updated 10:12 AM EDT
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Metro's spending tens of thousands of dollars to address its escalator problems.

Tom Sherwood

Metro's spending tens of thousands of dollars to address its escalator problems.

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The next time you take Metro, you may want to bring you ear plugs.  Some of the transit agency’s aging escalators have gotten very, very loud.

Metro is in the process of replacing its escalators.  Some of the ones that haven’t been replaced either break down frequently or make a loud, squeaking noise.  Think of them as dog whistles for humans.

Metro attributes the noise pollution to a small piece of plastic. 

“We have plastic devices that are installed inside the units that run along the metal plates inside, and those plastic devices are designed to reduce any wear and tear on the steps,” Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said. 

On Monday, Metro workers will begin installing three new escalators, a staircase and a canopy at the Foggy Bottom station.  The project is expected to be completed within a year and cost Metro about $4.5 million.

Hopefully that will solve the noise problem.  But in the meantime, keep cranking up those earbuds.

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