Housing Complex

The Metro Station of the Future?

Bethesda Staris and ights 101613-126

Back in April, Metro announced that it had chosen its Bethesda station to test new designs as a "model station of the future." Today, Metro marks the completion of a big round of that process. So, Metro riders, here is what could soon come to a station near you:

  • A brighter mezzanine
  • An additional stairway between the mezzanine and platform to reduce congestion
  • Brighter, more energy-efficient light strips suspended from the ceiling over the mezzanine
  • $700,000 in construction costs, which Metro says was under budget

Here are two more views of the futuristic Bethesda station:

Bethesda Staris and ights 101613-2

Bethesda Stairs Lights 101613-25

Photos via Metro

  • Fearing Dystopia

    Better lighting for the platform would better allow people to read while waiting. That said, I am bewildered by the introduction of such bright -- it actually looks glaring in the photos -- lighting in an area in which people largely negotiate farecard dispensing machines and go through turnstiles, neither of which requires high illumination. What's it for?

    Metro is supposed to be watching its pennies. Running up its Pepco bill in ways that do not facilitate using the trains or make the experience more pleasant is peculiar.

  • Keith

    @Fearing Dystopia

    The new lights are most likely LEDs which use significantly less energy than the old fluorescent bulbs. I would venture that the all new lighting fixtures are much more energy efficient than the old and they should expect their PEPCO bill to shrink.

  • http://www.c21redwood.com/arlington-va-real-estate/condos Adrienne C

    Looks like the Rosslyn Metro station in Arlington is moving along too.. Interested to see what the difference in improvements will be.


  • george

    Looks great! Seems to actually highlight the classic metro look (aside from the dimness).

  • MtP

    It highlights the classic metro look b/c it is exactly the same just with another staircase and additional lights. Not sure if that is worth $700K a station...

  • Bethesda Commuter

    As a daily commuter through the Bethesda metro station, I couldn't be more thrilled with the lighting and improvements. Our underground metro stations have always struck me as cavernous, dark and unwelcoming. While that's partly just the nature of underground stations, better lighting goes a along way towards making those awful waits for track work much more bearable. Plus, it's safer.

    We should be applauding metro for making these changes instead of complaining. Yes, service sucks, but this is one thing they are doing right.

    Also, there's never a shortage of people who complain about it being dark and then complain again when metro actually does something about it.

  • Commuter

    The existing lighting could be improved dramatically if they would just replace all the burned-out bulbs and clean the fixtures.

  • originaldc

    sorry, don't like it. it's too bright.

  • kelly

    Someone I know met the lighting designer on the original metro construction project; apparently the old lighting scheme was based on the walls being bright white--therefore reflecting more light and making the space brighter. Obviously it was never built that way for one reason or another, and so the lighting at metro was never quite right. It doesn't matter how well you maintain and clean, it will never be bright enough without correcting the design problem. PS metro is one of the cleanest public transit systems in the world, just sayin.

  • Massachusetts Mollusk

    The Bethesda Station is now brightly lighted where it doesn't need to be.

    The platform is still very, very dark and it's often difficult to read while waiting for the train.

  • SFB

    It's strip lighting. It looks terrible, despite the highly fanciful renderings. Just fix the existing lights. The Washington metro is a masterpiece of 20th Century design, and this is a significant coarsening, proposed in place of proper maintenance.

  • Argile

    700K for $12,000 worth of lights and a concrete stair case?


    Then again, as we learned with Arlingtons million dollar bus stop, only 400K of it actually was spent on construction, 550K was spent on "metro management", i.e....metro's project managers.

  • Eric

    @Argile, don't comment on prices you know nothing about. As a former general contractor, $700k actually seems incredibly reasonable for the huge amount of work here. Your estimate of $12,000 for some lights is very low. The length of the station and the cost of lighting together probably amounted to closer to $100k. Let's not forget that boring into existing concrete, reinforcing the edges, and constructing a new granite staircase with metalwork and a large amount of glazing is not going to match your version of cheap, either. Nor is the high cost of labor in the US. You can't renovate a 4,000 square foot office with new carpet, walls, paint, and TILE for less than $500k these days.

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