Should Park View be part of this station’s name?

While having a Metro station at the intersection of Georgia and New Hampshire Avenues is a boon to the area, one of the unfortunate oversights of the station is that its name honors Petworth while ignoring the neighborhood of Park View.

Technically, the station is in Ward 4’s Petworth, though barely. South of Rock Creek Church Road and east of Georgia Avenue is not Petworth but the Ward 1 neighborhood of Park View.

Naming the station Petworth in the name gives the false impression that the station is located in the heart of that neighborhood. Nothing could be further from the truth as Park View’s border is mere feet from the station, and Petworth’s real heart is well to the north.

WMATA could add Park View to the station name, making it Georgia Ave-Petworth-Park View. Or, it could just be Petworth-Park View, though deleting a name from a station is far more problematic than adding one.

The 750 foot long Duke Ellington Bridge separates Adams Morgan from the station that bears its name. Image from Library of Congress.

Is there a precedent for renaming a station to be more inclusive of the communities around it? Yes. In 1999 the Woodley Park—Zoo station was renamed to Woodley Park—Zoo/Adams Morgan to help identify that the station also serves Adams Morgan.

However, whereas Adams Morgan’s western border is 0.3 miles away from the station — and this is over the 750-foot-long Duke Ellington Bridge — Park View is only about 247 feet south of the station that ignores its existence.

Answering an inquiry on why this intersection was chosen for a station in the first place, Metro cites the location’s long association with mass transit among the reasons that lead to its selection. If this is the case, Park View certainly played its part in helping to permanently establish Rock Creek Church Road, Georgia, and New Hampshire Avenues as a permanent stop for streetcars, then buses, and now Metro.

While there are numerous examples of the Park View Citizens’ Association fighting for better streetcar service along Georgia Avenue, their most relevant accomplishment to this discussion occurred in 1914. It was in that year that the Citizens’ Association took on the Utilities Commission to insist on a stop at Rock Creek Church Road for southbound trains. Prior to their plea to the Commissioners, streetcars only stopped at this location during their northbound journey.

Initially, the Commission rejected Park View’s request. Not taking no for an answer, residents pressed their case and ultimately won in September of that year, causing the Commission to authorized the Washington Railway and Electric Company to establish a far-side stop at Georgia and Rock Creek Church Rd.  That was the beginning of the intersection becoming the significant transportation hub that it is today.

Kent Boese posts items of historic interest, primarily within the District. He’s worked in libraries since 1994, both federal and law, and currently works on K Street. He’s been an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner serving the northern Columbia Heights and Park View neighborhoods since 2011 (ANC 1A), and is a candidate for the DC Council, Ward 1. He has a MS in Design from Arizona State University with strong interests in preservation, planning, and zoning. Kent is also the force behind the blog Park View, DC.