A Tip to Metro at 7th Street Metro Center, Signage Needed for Your Wheel Chair Passengers

Exit to Hope Street...Unless you are in a wheel chair. Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/erikgriswold/7366319168/##Erik Griswold/Flickr##

Good customer service isn’t always about coming up with plans to utilize the best technology, sometimes it’s as simple as putting up a sign.

When Metro was announcing plans to lock fare gates, Streetsblog warned that at some transit centers, better signage is needed. For example, at 7th Street Metro Center in Downtown Los Angeles, not every exit has an elevator to the service. From our June 13, 2012 article:

ADA faregate, which is soon to be locked, leads to a lobby with no elevator to the surface. Once out of the paid-fare area, the wheelchair-or-other-elevator-dependent customer will have to purchase a new ticket (on the soon-to-be-required RFID (“TAP”) card which will cost an extra dollar to buy) in order to re-enter the station and head over to an exit with an elevator.

This will mean that while a wheelchair user can exit the station, they will then find themselves trapped in the ticket lobby in the background and will need to pay another fare at the Ticket Vending Machines(TVM) to get to another exit from the station that has an elevator to the surface.

This Monday, Metro latched the fare gates at 7th Street Metro Center. Erik Griswold, who tipped Streetsblog about this issue last year, was there. Sadly, it appears that Metro didn’t read our articleor chose to ignore it. Their was no signage directing wheelchair passengers to exits with elevators. This means passengers can TAP their way out of the subway area into an exit area with no way to access the street without TAPing back in. Griswold notes:

The turnstiles/gates were latched today at 7th Street.  So now the issue of wheelchair passengers (who may very well head to this exit as it is closest to the arriving/terminating Blue and Expo Line trains) getting trapped is very possible. 

When I went past there yesterday, there was no new signage warning wheelchair passengers that no elevators exist to take them up to the street.
Note to Metro: this isn’t that hard! Let Bob Blumenfield worry about getting everyone Wi-Fi and handle the basics.
  • Erik Griswold

    There is of course temporary staff there presently to guide passengers and “tap” them in with a “master key”. They will, if my observations from other stations is valid, be gone in two weeks.

    To be fair, Metro has installed one of the “Hands Free Intercoms” at this bank of turnstiles on the “unpaid” side. These can be used to be re-admitted to the “paid” side, however Metro has had at least a year since the original Streetsblog LA post, and almost four yeasrs since the turnstile bank was installed, to place permanent signage that would avoid having wheelchair users encounter this hassle.

    One simple idea would be to have not affixed the International Symbol of Access to the ADA-gate, as was done, apparently, without any recognition as to the realities of the Hope Street Entrance.

  • DJ

    It’s amazing how much money Metro has put into those “temporary” staff. Do we really need three people whose only job is to tell us that we’re no longer allowed to cheat?

  • westculvermonicaside

    So WHICH gate/exit does one go to access the elevator at this station?

  • Steven White

    Towards Figueroa St, there’s an elevator to the right of the TVMs.
    If you exit the other side of the station (off the Blue or Expo Line, for example) head towards the front of the train and go behind the stairs. An elevator will take you to the upper level to cross the tracks or exit to Flower St. I believe.

  • Niall Huffman

    The elevator off the Blue/Expo Line platform does indeed go up to Flower Street.

  • westculvermonicaside

    I asked because 1) Neither article had referenced their locations &, 2) whenever I’ve exited the Expo or Blue line there, the buzz of the station is such that it’s not obvious where they are, particularly if you are walking a bike.

    Basically I just have to remember to exit the “F” Streets (Flower or Figueroa).

  • Steven White

    So does the elevator off the street enter the station *inside* the faregates? If it’s the same elevator that goes from Blue/Expo platform level to Flower St. Level, it does, huh?

  • Anonymous

    This is an ADA violation and I await the first lawsuit against Metro.

    This is totally unreasonable behavior on the part of Metro. They need to be slammed with a federal lawsuit. Maybe then they’ll *put up the freaking sign*.

  • Anonymous

    In fact, a big “no wheelchair” sign would make sense at the Hope Street entrance.

  • Niall Huffman

    As far as I know, the elevator goes directly from the street to the platform. Usually, when an elevator goes directly to the street from inside the gated area, Metro installs an ADA faregate immediately in front of the elevator doors. Not sure if they did that with the Flower St elevator. There’s certainly room in the little alcove for them to have done so, looking at Google Street View. http://goo.gl/FFDP4e

  • Sam Taylor

    I think it is just fine that all the big-shots and know-it-alls on this blog can put up critical posts here and still not have a basic ability to communicate to a responsible party. Here is what I am missing: Who specifically was a detailed request letter and photographs sent to at Metro? If such a request happened, is that person still at Metro? Why do you blog readers think anybody reads this blog at Metro and if they do, why do you think they are going to write up your suggestion and get it to the correct person?

    @neroden:disqus violations only happen after documentation is submitted to the proper authorities and it can be shown that such a letter was ignored. Your posting and huffing and puffing doesn’t get a lawsuit.

    And Damien: By posting here, one would assume that you have given the folks that you communicate with at Metro a fair shot to send this where it needs to go and to get a response. Was this done? Were you ignored?

    This who blog posting is right on the Yellow Journalism level of the Beverly Hills Courier. Shoot first and don’t do any homework.

  • HighNoon

    Translation: It is only illegal or an issue if they get caught or are told about it?

    Not trying to put words in your mouth and I hear what you are trying to say, but it is Metro’s responsibility to provide clear ADA access. Why are people “huffing and puffing?” Because it is yet another example of Metro failing to invest in providing good (not great) basic service. If Metro needs to be told how to fix or to address this basic issue, that is indicative of many other issues riders regularly encounter. And I’m talking about those of us that are able to get around without a wheelchair, put yourself in those shoes and see how you feel. Metro has deep pockets and this is inexcusable.

  • Why do you blog readers think anybody reads this blog at Metro and if they do, why do you think they are going to write up your suggestion and get it to the correct person?

    —————-
    We do know people at Metro read Streetsblog. As for why we assume they would send the suggestion on the right person…I don’t know…because it’s their job?

    As Erik notes, the problem isn’t critical, because at the moment there are so many Metro staff at these stations (at least as of yesterday). So they still have plenty of time to get up proper signage before the gate checkers check out.

  • Erik Griswold

    No it does not.
    If one is arriving on a terminating Expo or Blue Line train and wishes to exit to the street, one needs to head “North” (i.e. the same direction as the terminating train) along “Platform One” and take an elevator up to the internal bridge that spans the Light Rail tracks. From here, by going left out of the elevator, one comes to the 7th and Flower exit, which has an ADA-accessible gate, and then yet another elevator just beyond those gates on the “unpaid” side. This takes you the surface into the little alcove mentioned.

  • Erik Griswold

    Sam,

    I have tried to communicate this to Metro. I hoped that the post from June 2012 would have worked by now. At this point my intention is only to try to get the word out to to those who might use Metro and need to exit without hassle.

  • Niall Huffman

    Ah thanks. Wasn’t sure whether there was a second elevator or not. Makes sense now.

  • brianmojo

    http://thesource.metro.net/2013/08/07/transportation-headlines-tuesday-august-7/

    “I have passed along the story to Metro officials this morning who say they are aware this is a situation that needs to be corrected.”

  • Anonymous

    No it’s not. Each Metro station is ADA compliant, otherwise, it would not have opened. Better signage is needed, but does not, and will not be succumb to a federal lawsuit.

    Metro stations are required to provide at least one entrance for wheelchair passengers, that’s the base rule. There are elevators to street level at 7th street, the only issue here is slapping a few more signs. There’s no lawsuit that can be had.

  • Joe B

    So, two things:

    (1) It’s not the job of the general public to point out major, glaring, no-brainer errors in Metro’s designs. Metro should be able to figure out this basic stuff and present a workable design without our help. That’s their job. We shouldn’t have to fight to get them to understand that:

    * wheelchairs can’t go up stairs
    * people need to be able to buy TAP cards on buses, not just at staffed Metro service centers during bankers’ hours
    * carpoolers do not want to pay $40+$3/mo in order to continue to carpool

    It’s really disheartening. If they can’t understand the above without a screaming, drag-out fight, how can we possibly get them to understand details that are less obvious and more nuanced but still terribly important?

    (2) What’s the point of an ADA gate at all when there’s no reason for a wheelchair user to pass this gate? Is it just for bikes?

  • Erik Griswold

    Nothing wrong with having a faregate even if the station entrance is not equipped with an elevator. I personally think that the decision to install RFID-only turnstiles was a foolish one. Indeed it probably resulted in the turnstiles having to “spin” for nearly 4 years while hoops were jumped through to get everyone RFID-compatible fare media.

  • Erik Griswold

    The staff is needed to explain how to work the confusing TVMs

  • Alex Brideau III

    Actually, according to my count, there are two elevator entrances to 7th St/Metro Center. From the street, you’ll see an elevator on Flower just north of 7th and another elevator on 7th at Lebanon (an alley-like street between Figueroa and Flower).

  • Alex Brideau III

    I think their value is more in keeping TAP-frustrated folks from squeezing through the accessible gate’s gap or simply (and it is indeed simple) walking through the accessible gate during the longish period it remains open after someone else has passed through.

    IMHO, most Metro stations should be staffed anyway. A single staffer can have the effect of increasing perceived safety, limiting (though not eliminating) the number of fare dodgers, and, of course, helping tourists. Even though the stations have no permanent station manager offices, some fairly simple kiosks could help.

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