Rainbow Bright: Residents React To New Castro Station Escalator

Rainbow Bright: Residents React To New Castro Station Escalator
Photos: Shane Downing/Hoodline
By Shane Downing - Published on May 27, 2016.

In a ceremony last Thursday, Muni officially unveiled Castro Station's much-anticipated rainbow escalator.

In the weeks leading up to the rainbow ribbon-cutting ceremony, many of our readers took to the comment section of some of our previous stories to let us know what they thought about the upcoming new addition.

Harvey Milk Plaza was decked out in rainbows for the unveiling ceremony.

Here is what some of our commenters had to say about the escalators:

“I haven't seen them yet...but...think of the entrances you could make…”

“Pretty lights! Meanwhile the church street station escalator has been out of order for almost 2 months..wtf”

“I think the new lights look cool. Tourist will love them, another photo opportunity. I love the rainbow, and you can never have enough. This work was to be completed in March. That's a 6 week delay. SFMTA is so big, and no one is accountable. 6 week delay, isn't going to cost anyone their job or raise. For us old guys, those awful steps at Castro Station are very hard to navigate.”

“Such a great idea. Simple and fun. Will bring a smile to many faces.”
“While bodies pile up due to SFPD incompetence and City Hall is confronted with another angry demonstration Supervisor Wiener will play with escalator lights.”

“I'm gay and I think the lights are garish and embarrassing.”

“Glad the escalators are back in service. You know, there is such a thing as over-accessorizing.”

“More rainbows for the Castro! That is so unique! That is so cutting edge! That is so tacky!”

“Came home last night from Yerba Buena at 10pm and escalator was broken already! Repairman there to fix it.”


In attendance at last week's escalator launch party were Supervisor Scott Wiener, a number of SFMTA employees, and a handful of curious neighbors. Wiener had the honor of cutting the ribbon and being the first person to ride up the escalator. It didn't take long for others to follow suit.

Supervisor Scott Wiener cuts the ceremonial rainbow ribbon.

"The lights are nice," said Derek as he stepped off the escalator, "I like the effects on the side. I think that was unexpected." "It's silly and fun," added Castro Merchants president Daniel Bergerac. "I think it's great."

"They were worth the wait," said rainbow rider Laurel, who admitted to have gone out of her way to ride the escalator. "Normally, I take the stairs, but now that there's these lights, I'm going to take the escalator more often. I think they're really pretty."

The rainbow LEDs were the brainchild of SFMTA's Scott Broder, who was on-site during last week's unveiling. He had the idea to install the lights in the neighborhood's Muni station three years ago; however, LED technology wasn't there just yet.

The rainbow LEDs minutes after being turned on for the first time.

"With the new technology," Broder said, "we can now adjust the lights to any color. We weren't sure if it was gonna work because it had never been done before, but we did it."

According to Broder, the escalator includes a number of upgrades. It will slow to a halt after a couple minutes of inactivity, and pick up speed as soon as a new commuter passes a sensor. The escalator is also capable of weathering heavy rains without flooding. Lastly, a newly designed metal grate, designed by Broder himself, will prevent small objects such as screws and pebbles from getting lodged in the machine and causing problems.

A happy couple rides the rainbow escalator for the first time.

"I'm happy," said Broder as he watched Muni commuters seeing the escalator for the first time. "It came out good. Hopefully everyone will enjoy it. It makes the escalator a little more interesting."

There's been plenty of Twitter activity around the new rainbow escalators. Here are some of our favorite tweets:

Now that the rainbow escalator is officially up and running, we'll turn our attention to the remainder of the Muni escalator upgrades, both at Castro and Church Stations. As always, stay tuned for more transit, and rainbow, updates.

Thank you to all of our Hoodline readers, commenters, and tweeters out there who shared their thoughts .