The incident follows a March 16 escalator failure, when riders waited as long as 50 minutes to catch an elevator from the street-level plaza to the train platform.

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Sound Transit riders were detoured down the emergency stairs to reach trains for about an hour Friday afternoon at University of Washington Station — because both downward escalators to the light-rail boarding platform failed again.

They were restarted at 4:10 p.m., the agency said.

The shutdown follows a March 16 failure, when riders waited as long as 50 minutes to catch an elevator going 95 feet down from the street-level plaza next to Husky Stadium. More than three hours elapsed before the escalators were restarted.

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Just about everyone involved, including Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff, called that situation unacceptable.

The station does not have a public stairway to reach the train platform. Riders must use escalators or elevators.

Rogoff announced just Thursday that in the rare event that both lower escalators failed, people could use the emergency staircases. These stairways sit behind nondescript doors at the north end of the station.

Preliminary reports suggest that one escalator tripped off because teenagers were roughhousing with the black handrails, and another stopped because something struck or jammed the comb plate at the escalator end, said spokeswoman Rachelle Cunningham.

Sound Transit this spring considered allowing a stalled escalator to be used as stairs temporarily, a policy followed by B.C. TransLink in Vancouver, and de facto at many systems including Washington, D.C., Metro.

But Rogoff said Thursday such use violates international safety standards, and puts people at risk if a stalled escalator were to suddenly restart.

Rogoff and staff have promised other reforms, which may include seeking more robust escalator parts, better protocols for security to report escalator outages, and coordination with King County Metro and escalator-repair contractors for a faster response.