The Osama Gate

We call this the “Osama gate”. This is an example of what tens of thousands of Homeland Security dollars will buy. Unfortunately it’s pointless and does not work. It’s pointless because it leads from one secure area to another secure area — Shady Grove Train Yard to the area immediately behind the ‘blockhouse’ at the north (outbound) end of the station platform. Both are non-public areas. In addition, it failed almost immediately — it spins freely in both directions. Not only did it fail, but none of the Metro employees that routinely go through the gate reported that it was broken (myself included) because when it was working properly it was a PITA to use, especially when carrying tools and/or equipment. Transit police, Safety dept personnel, middle and upper management (they park at Shady Grove Yard and then take the train to the Jackson Graham Building, or JGB) all use this gate on a daily basis. To be fair, it’s possible that it was reported and never repaired — that happens regularly. In any case, everyone was happy that they could walk on through without entering the security code. Just to the right (not visible in the photo) is a large gate for vehicle and personnel access. For years before the Osama gate was installed, that gate was routinely left open (and occasionally padlocked). Now the gate has been removed completely, so just to the right of the Osama gate there is a 10 foot wide opening in the fence! It’s a very expensive turnstile — maybe it can be used for spare parts.

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