Escalators of Västra Skogen

December 15, 2018

My chosen infrastructure are escalators. Escalators seem like a very mundane thing in our lives, you come across them every so often when out and about in the city, in a shopping mall you have a particularly hard time avoiding them. You are sure to see them in the subway stations and even in less likely places like in a theatre or art exhibition building. Although I use them nearly daily, I realise I have rarely given them that much thought. That’s why I have chosen to take a closer look at what this strange but familiar infrastructure is and what more can I learn about it.

At first though escalators seem like a very strict and standard. Escalators are essentially electric stairs that similarly to regular stairs help you move vertically in as space from place A to place B. The specialty in escalator being that instead of physically climbing up the steps you only need to put in the minimum effort of standing in one place until you reach the level where you step off. Regular stairs can be too much of a physical challenge for some people but having an escalator allows for more walking people to use a stair-like vertical transport.

My case study is the three 66m long escalators at the Västra Skogen underground station. The station is a dividing point for the blue line, from there on away from the central Stockholm it branches out to two directions Akalla and Hjulsta. This means that there are two tracks coming to the station heading toward central Stockholm, the tracks unite after leaving the station, that share one platform and one line coming from central Stockholm, which in turn divides after the station, that has its own platform.

Västra skogen station is an subterranean indoor station and the transportation at the station is handled in two ways. You can either choose to take the escalators up or take the elevators. As the vertical rise from the platform to street level is so high there is no option of stairs. The station has an indoor bridge structure at both ends of each platform that connects them. One of these bridges is in the back end of the platforms near the elevators, and the other in the front with access to the escalators. On that front bridge you have access to three escalators. First of them is always going down from the street level the middle one is usually not in use but if it is its usually going up and lastly the third escalator that is always going up. This system should mean that there are always at least two escalators in motion at all times. One going up, one going down, but unfortunately this is not always the case. This is a notion I will come back to later in the booklet.

In this booklet I will be discussion to whom the option of the use of escalators is available and who is excluded, and what could be the alternative ways to form escalators for physically impaired people.

Heidi Jokinen

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