Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) spoke with National Park Service (NPS) Superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks Robert Vogel today following a temporary elevator breakdown in the Washington Monument, which was reopened earlier this week following repairs for earthquake damage.
"I was surprised by an elevator mishap at the Washington Monument so soon after the terrific reopening of the Monument on Monday," said Norton. "I spoke with NPS Superintendent Robert Vogel, who assured me that the Washington Monument elevator is operationally safe and that the breakdown was an issue with the door. I was relieved to learn that the elevator was refurbished during the restoration, was certified last week, and was up and running again not long after today's breakdown. However, this appears to be a unique elevator in the District, in that it is in operation 13 hours a day, seven days a week because there is room for only one elevator in the Monument. The elevator was installed new in 2001, and with its frequency of use, one has to wonder about the lifespan of such an elevator. This elevator is perhaps more important to the city than any other because the Monument is a big draw for tourism and this elevator transports tourists and residents up for D.C.'s best view. As NPS moves forward and learns more precisely what happened today, I am asking that they take into account the burden placed on the elevator and what can be done to eliminate breakdowns in the future."