|(Not the car that was parked at the|
New York Avenue station last night,
but it was there recently.)
That's the story I got last night at the New York Avenue Station. As is often the case, a car was parked in front of the bike racks there. It's a story I've brought up before. I saw a Metro Transit Police car parked outside of the station as well, so I thought I'd ask the officer if they knew what the rules were regarding vehicles parking on the sidewalk on WMATA property. The officer wasn't in the car, so I walked into the station and found him in the manager's kiosk.
I asked if anyone there knew who owned the car that was parked in front of the bike racks, and the manager-on-duty said it was hers. I began to explain to her that cars parking in front of the bike racks has the effect of shielding them from view of the public and makes it easier for criminals to steal the bikes. She cut in and asked if I was having a hard time removing my bike from the rack. I replied that I was not, but it was still a safety issue.
Her reply was that she's always watching her car, and I shouldn't worry because she's "being vigilant about that," so she'd notice if someone was near the bikes.
I inquired whether WMATA provides parking for workers who need to drive to the station. She said, "Not at this location."
Two observations came from this night. The first: WMATA needs to procure parking for the station managers who need to arrive before the first train and drive home after the last train departs. Now that Constitution Square [PDF] (home to Harris Teeter, restaurants, a bank, and a large underground parking garage) is open next door, it shouldn't be difficult for the transit agency to gain access to a couple guaranteed parking spaces for these station managers.
The second more troubling observation didn't come to me until later. If this station manager is spending her time "being vigilant" about watching her car, is she actually doing her job? Shouldn't that effort go towards paying attention to the needs of customers and keeping an eye on the safety and security of the station itself?