On Thursday, the WMATA Board will review a revised Metro map and proposed name changes. The interim map shows the new “Orange and Yellow Line Service Increase” and the Silver Line under construction. Jurisdictions made formal requests to change the names of 6 stations; WMATA staff recommend accepting 2 of those.


Image from WMATA. Click to enlarge.



For the map, based on survey results, WMATA staff and designer Lance Wyman decided to color the Dulles line Silver, use dashed yellow and orange lines at the ends to denote rush hour-only service, and add hours of operation to the map. Different symbols for short turn stations confused riders and are gone from this version.

The recommendation would add Old Town as a subtitle to King Street, and Ballpark to Navy Yard once DC commits funding. Further, they recommend changing Waterfront-SEU to just Waterfront, not adding Arena Stage as requested. Suggested changes to Smithsonian, New York Ave-Florida Ave-Gallaudet U, and Forest Glen are also on the table, but staff are not endorsing those changes.

Instead of adding Holy Cross Hospital to Forest Glen, as Montgomery County requested, staff and Wyman devised a clever solution. Just as all stations with parking will have a P in a square next to their names, stations with hospitals will get an H in a square. That includes Forest Glen as well as Foggy Bottom, Shaw, and Medical Center.

The Board will also review the recommendation to use subtitles for 12 long station names. Staff dropped Grosvenor-Strathmore from their recommended list at the request of Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett; the board could still use a subtitle for this or even all stations with points of interest like universities.

What do you think? Below are more details about all the proposed changes. As you read, you can click the radio buttons to indicate which suggestions you agree with. At the end, you can submit your recommendations to the WMATA Board.

Station renaming proposals

Metro stations can be renamed if a local jurisdiction requests a change, agrees to pay for the cost of changing signs, and the WMATA Board approves the change.

The station naming policy, adopted earlier this year, says that station names should:

  • Convey a sense of place
  • Use up to 19 characters, or 13 for transfer stations
  • Potentially contain subtitles, but count the subtitle against the station name length
  • Only mention landmarks within a short walk, if any
  • Not be sold to commercial entities



Navy Yard

  • The ANC endorsed: Navy Yard-Curly W
  • DC requested: Navy Yard-Ballpark, which the ANC also endorsed as its 2nd choice option.
  • WMATA staff note that this meets the character limit. DC has not committed to pay for the change, but the Washington Nationals are willing to fund it. The focus group felt favorably about this potential change.
  • They recommend accepting this change, but making it a subtitle: Navy YardBallpark
  • This would happen if and when DC is willing to make a commitment to pay for the change. That’s because the policy requires the individual jurisdiction to pay directly; WMATA won’t enter into an agreement directly with a third party. DC would have to commit its own money and form its own agreement with the Nationals to reimburse taxpayers.
  • The board also has the option of keeping the current name: Navy Yard


New York Avenue-Florida Avenue-Gallaudet U

  • The ANC endorsed: NoMa/Gallaudet U
  • DC requested: New York Ave-NoMaGallaudet U
  • WMATA staff note that DDOT’s recommendation exceeds the character limit, at 28 characters, but is shorter than the current name (the ANC recommendation meets the limit). DC has not promised funds to change the name, but the NoMa BID is willing to pay for it. Focus group participants didn’t love the NoMa name; as we saw in our comment discussion last time, feelings about this name for the neighborhood are very divided.
  • They recommend keeping the name, but converting most of it to a subtitle: New York AveFlorida Ave-Gallaudet U
  • The board could also choose the ANC’s suggested name but make the second part into a subtitle: NoMaGallaudet U
  • Or, they could leave the name as is: New York Ave-Florida Ave-Gallaudet U


Smithsonian

  • DC requested: SmithsonianThe National Mall
  • WMATA staff note that this exceeds the character limit, at 28 characters. DC has not committed to pay for the change, but the National Park Service and the Trust for the National Mall are willing to fund it. The focus group felt favorably about this potential change.
  • They recommend keeping the current name: Smithsonian


Waterfront-SEU

  • This station name has to change because Southeastern University has closed.
  • DC requested: Waterfront-Arena Stage
  • WMATA staff note that this exceeds the character limit, at 22 characters. DC has not committed to pay for the change, but Arena Stage is willing to fund it. The focus group had mixed opinions about this potential change.
  • They recommend keeping the current name, but without SEU: Waterfront
  • The board also has the option to accept DC’s request but use a subtitle instead: WaterfrontArena Stage


Forest Glen

  • Montgomery County requested: Forest Glen-Holy Cross Hospital
  • WMATA staff note that this exceeds the character limit, at 31 characters. Montgomery County has not committed to pay for the change, but the hospital is willing to fund it. The focus group had mixed views about this potential change.
  • They recommend keeping the current name: Forest Glen. In addition, on the latest version of the map, they suggest using an H symbol for stations that are near hospitals, including Forest Glen as well as Shaw, Foggy Bottom and Medical Center.
  • The board also has the option to accept Montgomery’s request but use a subtitle instead: Forest GlenHoly Cross Hospital


King Street

  • The City of Alexandria requested: King St-Old Town
  • WMATA staff note that this request meets the character limits, and Alexandria has committed the funds as well as consulted the community. It got mixed reviews from the focus group.
  • They recommend accepting this change, but making it a subtitle: King StreetOld Town
  • The board also has the option to keep the current name: King Street


Other subtitles

In addition, WMATA staff recommend that the board agree to start using subtitles for 12 long station names:

Proposed with subtitlesCurrent names
Addison RoadSeat PleasantAddison Road-Seat Pleasant
ArchivesNavy Mem’l-Penn QuarterArchives-Navy Mem’l-Penn Quarter
Dunn LoringMerrifieldDunn Loring-Merrifield
Gallery PlaceChinatownGallery Pl-Chinatown
Georgia AvePetworthGeorgia Ave-Petworth
Mt. Vernon Sq7th Street-Convention CenterMt. Vernon Sq/7th St-Convention Center
Ronald Reagan WashingtonNational AirportRonald Reagan Washington National Airport
U StreetAfrican-Amer Civil War
Memorial/Cardozo
U St/African-Amer Civil War Memorial/Cardozo
ViennaFairfax-GMUVienna/Fairfax-GMU
West Falls ChurchVT/UVAWest Falls Church-VT/UVA
Woodley ParkZoo/Adams MorganWoodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan


One subtitle has been dropped from the original proposal, at the request of Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett. This station’s name has 20 characters, one more than the limit under the policy:

Potential with subtitleCurrent name
GrosvenorStrathmoreGrosvenor-Strathmore


8 stations meet the name length rules, but have points of interest such as universities as part of their names. WMATA staff are not currently recommending moving those points of interest into subtitles, but the WMATA Board could consider doing so. That would make all points of interest consistently part of subtitles as opposed to only doing that for the long station names.

Potential with subtitlesCurrent names
BallstonMUBallston-MU
BrooklandCUABrookland-CUA
College ParkU of MdCollege Park-U of Md
Foggy BottomGWUFoggy Bottom-GWU
ShawHoward UShaw-Howard U
TenleytownAUTenleytown-AU
Van NessUDCVan Ness-UDC
Virginia SqGMUVirginia Sq-GMU


What do you think? Choose one or more of the options above. Then, enter your name and email address to send your opinions to the WMATA Board. (Your email address will not be shared with anyone else except WMATA.)

Name:
Email:
City & state:
Other comments:
Also post my vote and comments (but not my email address)
as a comment on this post.


Update: WMATA sent over a slightly revised version this morning that moves the 2 Farragut stations closer together, adds the parking icon to Forest Glen, and moves the U Street label. I’ve passed on the comments people made about other errors, such as “No Litering,” “Ronald Regan,” missing railroad icons and the dots on the Largo branch which should go between Orange and Blue.

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David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Dupont Circle.