>Public art: would it make you ride Metro more?


These presentations show new public art that the Metro Customer Service Committee and Board are expected to consider on Thursday.  The public art will be installed at five Metrorail stations in Tyson’s Corner and Reston, and at the entrance to the Farragut North station.

According to the presentation, art at the Tyson’s stations will cost $1.7M and will be funded by Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. 

Metro states that public art, "helps create attractive transit facilities that increase ridership and enrich the lives" of its passengers.  It also states that the art selected will "reflect the artistic, cultural and historic interests" of the surrounding communities.

More importantly, the presentation about Tyson’s Corner stations is the best view I’ve seen of the location and design of the four stations.  The feature they all have in common is that access will be from pedestrian bridges.  If the stations had been placed underground, access would have likely been through entrances and tunnels on either side of the street.  Here’s a Google map showing the locations of the stations:

View Tysons Corner Metro Expansion in a larger map

So what do you think of the art in the presentation?  Does it reflect the local Tyson’s Corner community?  If not, what would the appropriate art look like?  Are there other public art installations in Metro that you like or dislike?  Would it be likely to increase ridership or enrich your life?

How many Metro stations can you name that have public art?

Here’s the proposed artwork.

Tyson’s East


Tyson’s Central 123


Tyson’s Central 7


Tyson’s West


Wiehle Ave


Farragut North


About perkinsms

I'm an engineer and father interested in transit, parking and economics.
This entry was posted in art, bleg, dc, fairfax, transit, WMATA. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to >Public art: would it make you ride Metro more?

  1. Matt' says:

    >No. I ride transit regardless of how artsy it is. I’m not exactly opposed to art in transit, but I very rarely understand why certain art is placed in stations. In some cases, the art makes sense. For instance, Silver Spring’s Commuting Penguins. Ok, so I don’t know why they’re penguins, but at least they’re commuting. In the case of Farragut North, the proposed Escalator Art appears to be some mythical topographic map from the mind of a computer game programmer. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it might be more appropriate in – say – the Silicon Valley. After all, San Jose does have a light rail.Metro’s stations were originally designed art free. The stations themselves were supposed to be art. They glorify the transit experience with their open spaces, light shows, and common themes. Spending $17 million for art might enhance the public space, but I don’t see how these ambiguous art projects better link the Metro to specific neighborhoods or further a common riding experience.


    >Metro art can work I think. But so often what they put up is truly mystifying.For example, lately on the TTC, they’ve been showing photos of other subway stations. I guess the photos at some point were thought to be arty or urban gritty or something. But they’re not at all in the context of waiting for your train in the dripping Eglinton West station while looking at a photo of the dreary entrance to the Downsview Station.But there’s a big mosaic at Dupont that’s really cool, and all the tiles are hexagonal. I like that. It’s okay to make the stations nicer, but try to have some taste.

  3. Jarrett says:

    >Art in public places is a civic investment in placemaking, and can’t be assessed based on quantifiable ridership impacts. I suspect it does have some subliminal impacts, however, and these do matter — perhaps not so much to ridership as to matters of “look and feel” that affect larger decisions about location and investment made by many individuals and institutions.

  4. Piett says:

    >Art is fine but given the budgetary cutbacks that are out there I fail to see how spending the dollars on art while cutting service is the right path.No, art won’t make me ride public transportation more.

  5. Anonymous says:

    >I really think the one looks like something taken from the A-ha video

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