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Metro approves station name changes

Thursday - 11/3/2011, 2:40pm  ET

Adam Tuss, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Safety? Reliability? On-time performance? Nope, the Metro board held an exhaustive, hours-long session over changing station names Thursday.

The board is taking the opportunity to change some station names now, because of the upcoming changes that are needed with the Metro map as the Silver Line rolls in, and other planned service changes take effect.

After much debate -- and even debate about how the debate should be shaped -- the Metro Board approved the following name changes:

  • King Street becomes King Street-Old Town
  • Navy Yard becomes Navy Yard-Ballpark
  • Waterfront-SEU slims down to just Waterfront
  • New York Ave-Florida Ave-Gallaudet U changes to NoMa-Gallaudet U with New York Ave in smaller, secondary letters underneath. Eventually the smaller "New York Ave" will be phased out.
  • Georgia Ave-Petworth stays

However, some controversy is still swirling around several proposed name changes. For instance, board members debated at length whether Forest Glen should be changed to Forest Glen-Holy Cross Hospital.

Board member Jeff McKay who represents Fairfax County says adding in the Hospital's name sets a dangerous precedent, as there are a number of economic development projects under way around the area that would like to have their name attached to a Metro station.

"It will never end," McKay said.

Instead, McKay recommended simply adding the universal symbol for hospital (H) next to the Forest Glen station name. The Board agreed to table the discussion until a later time.

Also, there's uncertainty about the Smithsonian station name. A proposal was made to add "National Mall" to the station name, but Metro staff cautioned against that, saying it could create severe crowding at the Smithsonian Station.

In reality, said several members of the Metro Board, the National Mall is not just located near the Smithsonian Station. Discussion on changing that station name has been put on hold until more information is gathered.

"We knew that this was going to be a process that was more complex than we would like," said Board member Tom Downs who represents the District. "The difficulty is balancing out what is in the best interest of all of the customers in the region, versus what a community around a station would like to see as the name.

Metro has set aside money for the changes, but individual jurisdictions are also contributing funds. The transit agency says current cost estimates for changing station signage are roughly $90,000 for a single-entrance, center-platform station and $120,000 for a two-entrance, side-platform station.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)