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Upgrades on the way for Philadelphia, D.C. and Queens.

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A Twitter post by rider @thejennyjude shows the colorful escalator handrails in WMATA’s Fort Totten Metro station. Washingtonian.com said the post garnered 15,000 likes and hundreds of comments within 24 hr.

WMATA Tests Color-Coded Escalator Handrails

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has begun testing color-coded escalator handrails to help direct Metro riders to the different lines, Washingtonian.com reported in April. The test, being conducted at the Fort Totten station, was undertaken based on a staffer’s suggestion, WMATA said. The escalator handrails, in green, yellow and red, correspond with the lines available at the station, which are accessed at different platforms. WMATA characterized the test as a “cost-neutral” project, because the handrails are replaced regularly anyway, and the price difference for colored handrails is “negligible.”

GAL Appoints Messina Corporate, IP Property Counsel

GAL Manufacturing Corp. has appointed Chris Messina of Unionville, Connecticut, corporate and intellectual-property (IP) council. Reporting to Vice President of Operations Paul Seifried, Messina will support GAL through legal and business initiatives, with a particular focus on IP protection and patent licensing. As a patent attorney, Messina is familiar with the workings of engineering facilities from an array of disciplines including power distribution, industrial manufacturing and electronics development. He holds an MS in Biomedical Sciences, a BS in Chemistry and a JD in Intellectual Property from the University of Connecticut. GAL CEO Mark Boelhouwer stated:

“Messina further reinforces our ongoing business endeavors. We have active development pipelines in several locations, and, with Messina guiding our employees through the legal IP maze, I am confident we will achieve our objectives faster and with greater success.”

New Elevators Improve Access for Philly Commuters

Life is about to get a little easier for commuters who use the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) 15th Street station in Philadelphia, as upgrades to the facility will include more new elevators, The Philadelphia Tribune reported in April. The station, plus another SEPTA facility at City Hall, are undergoing overhauls of a combined US$146 million. The work includes 14 new elevators, some of which are already operational.

The 15th Street station connects to an underground concourse that provides access to several lines for subway, light rail and trolleys. Among improvements riders will see are new platforms, fare gates and security cameras.

SEPTA currently has elevators at the 15th Street station and is in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, but the new elevators will expand capacity and add locations for accessibility, a spokesperson said. The work there, which began in 2016, is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2019.

Queens’ Astoria Subway Station to Receive Four Elevators

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will close the Astoria Boulevard subway station in Queens, New York, for nine months during an overhaul of the facility that includes the addition of four elevators, the Astoria Post reported in April. During a meeting of the Community Board 1 committee, District Manager Florence Koulouris said the work would be “substantially completed” by 2020. Four elevators will be installed at the station: two from the street to the mezzanine, and two from the mezzanine to the platform. The work will require significant changes to accommodate the elevators, including completely replacing the mezzanine, and reinforcing the columns and foundation. The mezzanine will be raised, and the road will be shifted down to enable large trucks to pass beneath the platform. Additionally, the platform roof and street and platform stairs will be replaced.

MTA announced the plans after advocates for the disabled heavily criticized its decision to not include elevators in renovations at four other stations in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens.

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