Detail of new mezzanine lights.

On November 24, Metro announced that they were testing new lighting at Judiciary Square’s F Street Entrance.

These new lights brighten the mezzanine, which is particularly dim. If the lights are successful, Metro will likely expand the format to other stations.

Metro’s original designer, Harry Weese, indended for the Brutalist vaults to remain blank, lit entirely by indirect lighting. However, over the years, Metro has added accoutrement to the vaults, from station signs to security cameras. In most stations, supplemental lighting was added in mezzanines, which tend to be in perpetual shadow.

Old lighting at Fourth Street Mezzanine

New lighting at the F Street Mezzanine

The new test lighting strikes a medium between the extremes. It adds lots of light to the mezzanines, while still providing light to the vault. At the same time, the fixtures’ design limits the encroachment of the light supports on the vault.

Matt Johnson has lived in the Washington area since 2007. He has a Master’s in Planning from the University of Maryland and a BS in Public Policy from Georgia Tech. He lives in Dupont Circle. He’s a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and is an employee of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. His views are his own and do not represent those of his employer.