Photo by tracktwentynine on Flickr.

This morning, WMATA’s Customer Service and Operations Committee voted on a set of revised station names for several stops. The full WMATA Board voted to approve the recommendations this afternoon.

With the service changes to the Blue, Yellow, and Orange lines coming next year, signs have to be replaced anyway. Metro hopes to save time and money by renaming stations at once instead of making changes individually.

Additionally, Metro is moving to a new primary/secondary station naming system. This idea was one that came out of the Metro map contest we held earlier this year. Only station names longer than the 19-character policy maximum will get subtitles, minus a few grandfathered entries (see below).

The committee recommended the following station name changes:

  • King St-Old Town
  • Navy Yard-Ballpark
  • NoMa-Gallaudet UNew York Ave
  • Waterfront (deleting the now-closed “SEU” from the name)

The NoMa-Gallaudet U station will retain New York Ave as a subtitle for one year. This will help to avoid the confusion that could be caused by completely removing what has been the primary name of the station since it opened in 2004.

For now, several stations are keeping their current names:

  • Forest Glen (no Holy Cross Hospital, but with an H logo denoting a hospital)
  • Franconia-Springfield (exempt from character limit)
  • Georgia Ave-Petworth (exempt from character limit)
  • Grosvenor-Strathmore (exempt from character limit)
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (no change)
  • Smithsonian (no National Mall)

The other stations that exceed Metro’s 19-character limit will be getting subtitles for parts of their names.

Many members of the Gallaudet community spoke at the public comment session in favor of keeping their university in the primary name. Several others spoke for Holy Cross and the Mall.

David Alpert testified in favor of shorter names and using subtitles for all universities and other points of interest. He also noted that while Holy Cross offficials and neighbors said putting the hospital’s name on the station would encourage more patients to take transit, the hospital’s own directions webpage doesn’t mention Metro.

Additional changes include adding the universal “H” logo to the system map to show hospitals near Foggy Bottom, Forest Glen, and Medical Center.


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Matt Johnson has lived in the Washington area since 2007. He has a Master’s in Planning from the University of Maryland and a BS in Public Policy from Georgia Tech. He lives in Dupont Circle. He’s a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and is an employee of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. His views are his own and do not represent those of his employer.