Riding the Metro and feeling the pangs of a nicotine fix? No fear Orange and Blue line riders, the solution can’t be too far away; just head to Rosslyn.
There, the architecture of the indoor/outdoor station works in concert with people rippin’ butts on the top level of the station to create a wind tunnel of secondhand smoke, often from just one smoker. It’s easy to lose my breath during the daily fumigation as I climb the gargantuan Rosslyn staircase each day.
This isn’t a problem simply relegated to Rosslyn, though the station’s towering escalators certainly have something to do with the degree of the second-hand smoke amplification. McPherson Square in D.C. has a similar setup — both stations are located below a building, so are technically outside, but really feel like being more in parking garage.
But Rosslyn is unique in that its kiosk and faregate area is also located in this gray al fresco plaza, right next to the street. There, outside the station gates, is where people give in to their tobacco cravings. Nothing against smokers, but going just a bit outside this sheltered area and smoking rather than lighting up in area that creates smoke wafting into the station would make a huge difference. But that’s a measure of courtesy — smoking right below a building and next to the Metro doesn’t appear to be illegal in Virginia, though the state has banned smoking in restaurants in bars. In D.C., it’s illegal to smoke within 25 feet of commercial and residential buildings.
So even though I fantasize about Metro or Arlington police shooing away the smokers that alone can fill the bustling transit station with a faint haze and a more apparent stench, that is not the law, which I guess we will just have to live, and gradually die, by.