Coming soon to an escalator near you

They say it never rains in Southern California and this year that has sometimes been the case. But we can hope for more rain and snow next winter and by then, several Metro subway escalators will be better protected from the elements.

To keep the escalators running more reliably — as well as to protect those of us riding them — Metro is beginning the process of adding canopies over stations along the Red and Purple lines.

The first one should be complete this summer at the Westlake/MacArthur Park Station, where construction is beginning on the support rails that will hold up the pretty canopy umbrella. (See rendering.) If you use that station, you may have noticed construction folks working around holes in the pavement where the three supports will be anchored. The umbrella itself will be added when the supports are secured.

Work at the Westlake/MacArthur Park station. Photo by Rafie Zamani/Metro

Next up will be umbrellas at Civic Center Station in downtown L.A. Those two escalators were recently replaced — a costly and time consuming effort — and it’s hoped that the new canopies will extend the shelf life of the new escalators and others along the subway, which really would do better were they sheltered from the storms.

The two escalators at Pershing Square Station will be the last to be covered by this umbrella design. That project will be completed after the first of the year in time for what we hope will be next winter’s very rainy season. But six more Red Line stations exposed to the elements will follow. (A few stations, including Hollywood/Highland, Hollywood/Vine and 7th St/Metro Center — are covered by existing structures so don’t need further protection.) No schedule for the next set of canopies has been set.

4 replies

  1. Perhaps the architects should consider the problem with pigeon droppings into their design. Just take a look at the fancy canopy at Santa Monica station and you’ll see how a poor design can make such a problem even worse!

  2. They could also start installing those energy efficient escalators which don’t move when no one’s on them. It also saves a lot in maintenance costs down the road because the gears aren’t moving all the time.

  3. Wait! Why waste money to put a canopy at Westlake/MacArthur Park when they plan to build a TOD over the station. Won’t it just be displaced by the building or is the building not going to cover the station exits?

  4. These canopies good look in the illustrations. I hope they look as good in person.
    I still think that the portals could stand to be smaller, and that oval shape just reflects the bigger design. But overall, the design looks good.

    Some will probably say that you’re spending too much to fix the problem; that the “no roof payment” system worked better than installing barriers.
    But as Metro Rail has grown, it is obvious that it is evolving. Metro deserves credit for fixing problems which it may not have realized at the start.