recent audit by the Office of the Inspector General addressed some incidents at Rhode Island Ave. Brentwood Station on the
Red line in summer of 2016. On 8/31/16, a steel beam fell more than 16
feet to the ground, and the next day, pieces of concrete fell from the
same area. Thankfully, no one was injured. The report found that Metro
inspectors failed to identify poor structural conditions, but some of
the Metro board members noted that this was 'old news' to them.
Metro board chairman Jack Evans responded to the findings, stating that
that was the "old Metro," and that "Today it's a different
Metro. We have rebuilt our inspections department and are continuing to
work on that to make sure that, given all the work we have in front of
us, that things are done properly [...]." The report recommended
the development and implementation of investigative policies and procedures
for hard to reach, non-visual areas. It also recommended that supervisors
be required to check inspection reports for completeness and accuracy.
Metro's stance on this is that they've already started this process,
and are "confident in the inspection process."
Despite such progress, for the sake and safety of all of us in the DC region,
it's important that the pressure on Metro not let up, and that they
continue to work to provide safe and efficient public transportation services.
The recent changes to Metro's policies, procedures, and safety standards
should have been done years ago, and Metro still has a long way to go.