WMATA: Fix the Elevator at Grosvenor-Strathmore Now
WMATA: Fix the Elevator at Grosvenor-Strathmore Now
Why this petition matters
On September 2, 2022, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced a project to “rehabilitate” the elevator at the Grosvenor-Strathmore Station on the Red Line of its train system.
They announced work would begin on September 6, continue until November 30,
And the elevator would be shut down until then.
To compensate, they stated,
- “Free shuttle bus service will be provided between Grosvenor-Strathmore and Medical Center stations,”
- “The shuttles will be available thirty minutes before normal Metrorail operating hours and one hour after,” and
- “The shuttles will operate every 15 minutes during peak hours and every 20 minutes during off-peak hours.”
I, Fiona Murphey, am a manual wheelchair user. A graduate student at American University, I depend on the Grosvenor-Strathmore train to access classes and work. The trip should take roughly 30 minutes; even doubling that, it should take 1 hour max each way.
Since the elevator went down, the route has instead taken 4-5 hours each day—at least 2 hours in each direction—due to the elevator being out and the shuttles not operating as promised. This has caused me to miss classes, wages, and has deteriorated my health.
I am not alone in this.
- Repair the Grosvenor-Strathmore elevator immediately, before November 30,
- Designate a parking area for shuttles at Medical Center to allow the shuttle service to function as promised,
- Repair existing shuttle-buses and maintain them regularly,
- Ensure that future elevator maintenance projects are handled with greater care and expedience, and
- Pay shuttle workers fairer wages and treat them with more respect.
We call on Mayor Newton of Rockville, Mayor Bowser of DC, Councilman Friedson of Montgomery County District 1, and the WMATA to respond to these points as soon as possible.
If our cities and counties wanted to, they could devote proper resources to repairing the elevator in a timely fashion and running the shuttle service replacement as promised. Currently, they instead choose to disable a whole sector of their dedicated citizens, students, and workers. This must change immediately.
If you agree, please sign and share this petition. Your Disabled colleagues, family members, and friends thank you for your support.
- Fiona Rose Murphey, Graduate Student: American University — Resident of Montgomery County, MD, District 1
- Henry Jeanneret, President: American University Disabled Student Union — Washington, DC, Ward 3 (https://american.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/disabledstudentunion)
- Jay Rider, President: Towson University Disabled Student Union — Baltimore County, MD, District 6 (https://involved.towson.edu/organization/disabledstudentunion)
- Coleman Maxwell, Secretary: American University Student Government — Washington, DC, Ward 3 (https://www.ausg.org)
- Tanja Aho & Marc Medwin, Co-Chairs of the Disability+ Faculty & Staff Affinity Group, American University (https://www.american.edu/hr/community/disability-faculty-staff-affinity-group.cfm)
- Madison Jennings, President: The Disabled Students Collective at The George Washington University — Washington, DC, Ward 2 (https://gwu.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/the-disabled-students-collective)
The shuttles do not come every 15 or even 20 minutes—they come once every 45 minutes–1 hour, or sometimes, not at all. They do not come consistently after 9 PM, despite purporting to run 1 hour after normal Metro hours (which end at 12 AM at the earliest). I have been repeatedly stranded by the shuttle at Medical Center, arriving at 9 PM, asking the station masters to call the shuttle, and waiting outside for up to 2 hours. One night, the shuttle arrived, but its lift was non-functional for 45 minutes after its arrival and rickety after that.
This grievous problem is not the fault of the shuttle drivers; they are doing their best with the poor support, equipment and parking options they have, and they have done their best to improve efficiency/reliability in the months since the elevator outage started. But when I have tried to raise public complaint, all that has seemingly happened is the WMATA reprimanded them—underpaid workers who do not deserve blame for:
- Dysfunctional equipment,
- A lack of clear parking, communication, or procedures for shuttles, or
- A shortage of shuttles (since clearly, just one shuttle is unable to even approach the 15-20 minute wait WMATA promises).
Uber and DC YellowCab each advertise wheelchair accessible vehicle options (UberWav, YellowCab Accessible Service), but in my experience, 80% of the time or more, they either take upwards of an hour to assign a driver or will not come at all, saying “There are no wheelchair accessible vehicles available.” This happens even when you book ahead of time with YellowCab.
These elevator outage and shuttle problems continue, and there are no reliable substitutes, even ones more costly than public transit, available to Disabled riders.
- WMATA The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
- Mayor Bridget Donnell NewtonMayor of Rockville, MD
- Mayor Muriel BowserMayor of Washington, DC
- Councilmember Andrew FriedsonMontgomery County Council