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DDOT recommends 4 Metro station renames

DDOT has formally asked WMATA to change the names of 4 Metrorail stations in the District. It also recommended, but later withdrew, a 5th:


Photo by iwantamonkey on Flickr.

Current nameProposed name
Waterfront - SEUWaterfront - Arena Stage
Navy YardNavy Yard - Ballpark
New York Ave. - Florida Ave. - Gallaudet U.New York Ave. - NoMa
Gallaudet University
SmithsonianSmithsonian
The National Mall
Foggy Bottom - GWUFoggy Bottom - GWU
Kennedy Center

Thankfully, the idea of including a "curly W" logo on Navy Yard has been sent to the dustbin where it belongs. But for better or worse, most of these still violate WMATA's approved policy limiting name length.

Under the process laid out by WMATA for station name changes, the jurisdiction containing that station needs to first request a name change and identify someone willing itself be willing to pay for the cost of changing signs, pylons and more. The WMATA Board then approves or disapproves each proposal.

Various organizations including Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and nonprofits have asked DDOT for station renames. The NoMA BID wanted its name on the station in its area, for example. The National Park Service and the Trust for the National Mall requested the name change for Smithsonian.

The Golden Triangle BID also asked to add its name to one of the Farragut stations, and Capitol Riverfront wanted to be on Navy Yard, though DDOT didn't advance those requests. ANC Commissioner Kent Boese has been pushing to change Georgia Ave-Petworth to Georgia Ave-Petworth/Park View or Petworth-Park View.

Of the proposals DDOT accepted, only "Navy Yard-Ballpark" conforms to WMATA's naming policy, which calls for a maximum of 19 characters including subtitles. As Matt Johnson wrote, subtitles should not be an excuse to add more to names.

DDOT has withdrawn adding Kennedy Center to the Foggy Bottom stop since there was no organization willing to front the $100,000 or greater cost of changing a name. That must mean the Kennedy Center couldn't or didn't want to pay for the change. If that's not getting added, is it appropriate to add Arena Stage? Was it appropriate to add Strathmore, currently the only private non-educational organization on a station name?

The important principle is not to let station names become "the Yellow Pages," as one WMATA Board member put it, advertising nearby organizations and attractions. The purpose of a station is to help people find their way around the system, not to promote things to do.

But if Kennedy Center is not going on and Arena Stage might be inappropriate, is it right to add Ballpark? To me, it does seem appropriate somehow, but should we be promoting organized sports (owned by a for-profit entity that's acted fairly rapaciously toward the District) and not a nonprofit and donor-funded arts organization that's contributed a great deal to its neighborhood?

(Disclosure: I am a member of the board of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, which isn't part of a station name, and may in some ways compete with other theaters or with other entertainment such as baseball.)


"New York Avenue" Metro. Image from StationMasters.
Concerning the station near Gallaudet, I find it baffling that anyone wants to keep New York Avenue on the name. The station is not on New York Avenue. No entrance to the station is on New York Avenue. The platform stretches from Florida Avenue, well south of New York Avenue, to M Street NE, even farther south.

New York Avenue also runs very close to McPherson Square and Metro Center, and tourists in downtown hotels do get confused and take Metro to this station by mistake. "NoMA-Gallaudet U" would be short and appropriate.

As for Smithsonian, does anyone not know how to get to the Mall? This proposal seems unnecessary. Additionally, several stations, not just the Smithsonian stop, serve the Mall. Naming one stop ignores the usability of other nearby stations, like L'Enfant Plaza.

Already, many tourists use Smithsonian to get to Smithsonian museums when other stations would work better, such as L'Enfant for Air and Space. When major events come to the Mall, Smithsonian can face severe overcrowding, and Metro tries to encourage visitors to use other nearby stations. Adding National Mall could exacerbate these problems, leading visitors to use Smithsonian to get to rallies at the Capitol end of the Mall when they really should be getting off at Federal Center SW or Judiciary Square.

Finally, each name is something of a hodgepodge that contains 2 elements both in the primary name, or has a subtitle. I continue to believe WMATA missed a big opportunity by not moving into the subtitles all pieces of names after dashes or slashes. Why should "West Falls Church-VT/UVA" become "West Falls Church" with a subtitle, but "Brookland-CUA" not become "Brookland" with a subtitle of "CUA"?

If the new policy is to use subtitles, then all stations with multiple pieces in their names should use the subtitles for all but the first piece. In this case, Navy Yard-Ballpark could be an acceptable name, but Navy Yard with a subtitle of Ballpark is even more appropriate; if Arena Stage is indeed added to the nearby station, it should likewise be in the subtitle to avoid making the name on pylons and signs, and spoken by conductors, even longer and more confusing to riders.

If you want to convey opinions to the WMATA Board about these changes, you can email boardofdirectors@wmata.com.

David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. 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 loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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does anyone not know how to get to the Mall?
Good lord, have you never seen tourists try to navigate the Metro?

This is a great change. The only drawback would be if they someday add another station on the Mall, then the subtitle would be confusing.

by Gavin on Oct 5, 2011 10:36 am • linkreport

David - Is there anywhere...or any one the public can contact to vice opinions on these proposed station name changes? A Name, e-mail or phone number would be great. Thank you!

by Pelham1861 on Oct 5, 2011 10:40 am • linkreport

The problem is the idea that one station serves the Mall. In reality, depending on where on the Mall you'd like to go, you might be better off using Archives or Federal Triangle or Federal Center SW or L'Enfant Plaza. If you consider the broader (popular) definition of 'The Mall', add in Foggy Bottom, Capitol South, etc.

There's a very good reason that 'Ballpark' is worthy while 'Arena Stage' is not - the Arena Stage doesn't have a capacity of 40,000 people.

My suggestions:

Waterfront-SEU -> SW Waterfront
Navy Yard -> Navy Yard-Ballpark
New York Ave -> NoMa-Gallaudet U.

by Alex B. on Oct 5, 2011 10:47 am • linkreport

There are already signs for the Mall at Smithsonian station. You don't need to add it to a station subtitle, especially since only one of the station's entrances is on the mall.

I was sent a survey, and I voted in favor of New York Avenue-NoMa. It just sounds more cosmopolitan, and that neighborhood is known locally for the intersection of New York Avenue with North Capitol Street. Waterfront-Arena Stage seems inappropriate since there are other theater companies in town. And Navy Yard-Ballpark is an acceptable way to mark the location of an important venue that draws considerable traffic.

by Omar on Oct 5, 2011 10:49 am • linkreport

How about: Waterfront, Navy Yard, NoMa (Gallaudet subtitle), and Smithsonian? Besides, Archives is actually only a block from the Mall and far better for reaching eastern sections than Smithsonian itself.

by Phil on Oct 5, 2011 10:52 am • linkreport

Is there no other name for the neighborhood around the NY Avenue station? "NoMa is a dumb name that was coined by real estate speculators that nobody else really uses.

by Ron on Oct 5, 2011 10:57 am • linkreport

Why not add "National Mall" as a subtitle to all of the core stations that serve the National Mall?

by Rob P. III on Oct 5, 2011 11:01 am • linkreport

No. Just no. Why does WMATA/DDOT feel the need to make Metro station names unnecessarily long? Before you konw it, all station names will resemble "U St/African-Amer Cilvi War Memorial/Cardozo." We shouldn't be compensating for locals and tourists who are too lazy to bother to look up which Metro station serves wherever they're trying to go. Look at station names on the London Underground - very few actually describe the neighborhoods they're in or the points of interest nearby. Yet somehow millions of tourists manage to find their way around.

Metro station names should be short without being confusing. I am in favor of just calling New York Avenue "NoMa" since the station is not actually on New York Ave. Trying to define neighborhoods using Metro station names or attempting to fit in every last tourist attraction within a 0.5 mile radius of the station is absolutely ridiculous, and we shouldn't allow this to happen.

by Rebecca on Oct 5, 2011 11:03 am • linkreport

I hate "Noma," but it's far less inane than "Golden Triangle." And since Kennedy Center has shuttle buses from Foggy Bottom since it's so far away, adding Kennedy Center would be a bit of a misnomer. Should we add "H Street" to Union Station just because it's the closest stop? Actually using the Kennedy Center logic, it would make most sense to add H Street to Gallery Place since there is (was?) a shuttle bus from there to the neighborhood.

by Tom A. on Oct 5, 2011 11:05 am • linkreport

Please keep the names short and geographical. Use the sub-title for one or two high-use, focal points of the area that a lot of people would be going to. Realistically, the geographical areas of the city aren't going to change names, move, or go out of business like SEU or the corporate names of stadiums.

Name (Subtitle)
SW Waterfront (Arena Stage)
Navy Yard (Ballpark)
Smithsonian (National Mall)
Foggy Bottom (GWU)

by Rob P. III on Oct 5, 2011 11:05 am • linkreport

@Ron: Dave Thomas Circle?

All these suggestions hammer home how broken the process to name stations is. There are guidelines that nobody follows and WMATA appears not to want to enforce. That's not surprising, since the WMATA board is made up of people from the jurisdictions who have an interest in using station names for branding rather than utility. I'd wager that making the requestor pay for the change was intended partly to cut down on requests, but $100k isn't that much even in a municipal budget, and particularly compared to the cost of a new stadium or other development.

It doesn't help that the nature of WMATA doesn't lend itself to a 'closest intersection' kind of formula that could be regularly applied. Ignoring that many stations are mid-block, stations out in the burbs don't have have useful intersections to name them after anyway. Does 'Vienna-Fairfax/GMU' become 'Nutley Street'?

by Distantantennas on Oct 5, 2011 11:12 am • linkreport

"Waterfront-Arena Stage seems inappropriate since there are other theater companies in town. "

I agree 100%. While I recognize that Arena Stage has played a very important role (haha) in the development of the Waterfront area, I am so much against the idea of a company (for profit or otherwise) being listed in the station name. Yes, they are arts/education, but in my opinion, it created a precedent for stations like "Ballston-MU-Ted's Montana Grill" or "New York Avenue-NoMA-XM Radio".

How hard is it to remember "I'm going to Arena Stage, that's at the Waterfront station."?

by SB on Oct 5, 2011 11:13 am • linkreport

Regarding adding 'Ballpark' to Navy Yard; I think it's an extremely important addition. The Nats drew 1,940,478 fans last year, and DC has made a concerted effort to get those fans there by public transportation. Remember, people from a wide geographical swath might trek up to the city for one or two games a season and be totally unfamiliar with where the stadium is. Even though the Lerner family has nickel and dimed the city to no end over the ballpark, it's a huge public benefit if we make it as easy as possible for people to feel comfortable taking public transportation there over driving and creating gridlock.

I live down by the ballpark and work far out in the suburbs, so in the summertime my commute home coincides with baseball traffic, and it can get pretty brutal. So anything that might facilitate more metro usage and less driving is a win for the neighborhood and city at large.

Although I will miss telling lost Phillies fans that they need to head to stadium armory for the game :)

by Jim Ed on Oct 5, 2011 11:17 am • linkreport

For better or worse, people already know the station in the NoMa neighborhood as "New York Avenue." Removing that part of the name could cause a lot of confusion, especially for people using older guide books to get around.

by jimble on Oct 5, 2011 11:22 am • linkreport

I still don't particularly like the NoMA designation but I guess they had the 100k to name the station. Although I understand the subtitle thing but the station is not a short walk to/from Galludet GU, Catholic, HU, AU seem more appropriate because they're all much closer (or maybe I really don't understand the subtitle thing).

I also think that if we're really interested in making the designations "user friendly," it would make sense to at least add NY Ave to the station because you still have to explain what/where NoMA is

by HogWash on Oct 5, 2011 11:26 am • linkreport

This is deeply disappointing. 

NoMa, no way.  It's a stupid name that only a commercial realtor could love. 

Restore the historical name: Swampoodle

(disclosure: my grandparents-in-law lived there)

by intermodal commuter on Oct 5, 2011 11:40 am • linkreport

What is the role of the "subtitle"?

Is it to appear on printed maps, but in smaller font?

Will it not appear on station pylons?

by ah on Oct 5, 2011 11:45 am • linkreport

Yes lots of stations serve the mall, but the smithsonian is the only one with an entrance on the mall. That is an appropriate designation. Especially for a landmark that is frequent by tourists it makes because lots of the time they really do want to get off in the middle of the mall and wander around.

I don't think Arena Stage makes sense but the Ballpark does simply from a numbers perspective. Is someone can show me that more than a quarter of the people using the Waterfront stop are going tot he Arena Stage I will reconsider.

I would support simply NoMa - Galluadet.

As to University names in general I think it makes sense for GW, CUA, and Galluadet to be part of the main name but not AU or Virginia Tech (by West Falls Church) simply becuase the GW, CUA, and Galluadet stops are right by big campuses.

I think it may be helpful before any stations are renamed that surveys are done asking people getting off at a particular station where they are going to. A certain number must be going to the location you are proposing to add to the station name.

by nathaniel on Oct 5, 2011 11:45 am • linkreport

rena Stage seats what? 500 people at most? Yet it gets in? More people probably attend the Gallery Place movie theater in a year than go to Arena Stage. What about the National Theater, or the Warner? or the 9:30 Club for that matter? Why does the Kennedy Center get left off while Arena Stage gets in? It makes no sense.

As for Nats Park, there is some precedent with the Stadium-Armory station, however, the Verizon Center is not part of a station name, so I guess it could go either way. One could also argue that the station is much closer to the ballpark then it is to the actual Navy Yard.

by seaster on Oct 5, 2011 11:46 am • linkreport

NOOOOOOO! The system needs to get simpler. People can look up the correct station to get where they're going.

One name, preferably one word.

"Waterfront."
"Navy Yard."
"Smithsonian."
"Gallaudet." (There really isn't any name for that neighborhood.)
"Foggy Bottom."

by dal20402 on Oct 5, 2011 11:52 am • linkreport

@jimble

I agree. New York Ave-NoMa is just fine. I don't really care that NoMa is a made-up name. Everything is a made-up name. Does anybody here remember what Crystal City was until a developer named it that? No. Really, when I was a kid I expected to find the Wizard of Oz there (yes, I know that's the emerald city, but it's close enough). The point is that geographic names are what we make of them. If NoMa works to identify a location, then so be it.

by Adam L on Oct 5, 2011 11:55 am • linkreport

The New York Ave station would be much better named as "NoMa - Gallaudet U." As stated in the article, New York does not define the area or the station. (The main street of NoMa is actually First NE, which at least runs closer to the station than New York.)

As for the supposedly "dumb" name, developers have nearly *always* named neighborhoods... and in this case, when they're spending billions of $ to replace vacant parking lots and industrial land, it's entirely appropriate.

There are many adjacent neighborhoods (Near Northeast, Truxton, NW One, Eckington, Bloomingdale, etc.), but I don't think anyone ever claimed the corner of 1st and M NE (the center of NoMa). Swampoodle had its center where Union Station is now, didn't extend North of K, and has been gone for a Century.

NoMa should be the primary name, as endorsed by the BID, ANC 6C, and others (including me, the ANC for this station) because it will be better for residents, workers and tourists. Hopefully DDOT will revise its recommendation, and WMATA will accept the "NoMa - Gallaudet U" name.

by Tony Goodman, ANC 6C04 on Oct 5, 2011 11:58 am • linkreport

"Gallaudet." (There really isn't any name for that neighborhood.)

The historic name is: Smampoodle.

by intermodal commuter on Oct 5, 2011 12:00 pm • linkreport

To everyone who is deriding "NoMa" as a made-up name: So what. Most of the names you know of were made up.

"Washington" is a primary example. Made up by the federal government for their new capital in areas that already had names.

Or how about "Chevy Chase," which was named by real-estate speculators for the Ballad of Chevy Chase.

If you want to find some non-made-up name, figure out what the Native Americans called this area before the Europeans started moving in and applying their made up names to everything.

by Matt Johnson on Oct 5, 2011 12:04 pm • linkreport

NoMa is fine and its catching on, like it or not. Nobody knows Swampoodle either, and today it would be out of context and meaningless. Anything else would be just as made up. People are just going to have to learn that NoMa is the "formerly industrial area along the tracks north of Union Station". Good point about Crystal City.

by spookiness on Oct 5, 2011 12:06 pm • linkreport

Or, to be clear, I would be fine with dropping the "U" off of Gallaudet as well, to make the station NoMa - Gallaudet, or even making it NoMa - New York Ave (Gallaudet University). But my clear preference overall is to have "NoMa" first.

by Tony Goodman, ANC 6C04 on Oct 5, 2011 12:08 pm • linkreport

@Matt Johnson - I agree. All names are made up, even the names given a place by the first humans who referred to it.

by Tina on Oct 5, 2011 12:24 pm • linkreport

@Matt, I think this may be a bit different than naming the capital "Washington" when you consider the big push for making the names user-friendly. NoMA sounds nice, much like SoHo, but it gives people no real direction as to where/what NoMA is.

I'll admit that after reading Tony's post, I'm even less sure what is means or at a minimum didn't understand where "city center" was.

by HogWash on Oct 5, 2011 12:40 pm • linkreport

Whatever is chosen should set a precedence on the naming of the stations.
No business/stadium/convention center/arena/college should be listed if you are too stupid to find out the place you are going its your damn problem.

Waterfront SEU = Waterfront (this is a true description of the area and there is no need to put SW infront of Waterfront due to no other area having a station near the water

Navy Yard = Navy Yard (This is the only logical name is it the name of the neighborhood; if you add Ballpark to it will all other large venues get something added to nearby stations such as adding Embassies to Dupont Circle, Bolling AFB or Coast Guard to Anacostia, Census Bureau to Suiltland, NIH to Medical Center and so-fourth.)

New York Ave/Florida Ave/Gallaudet U. =

choice 1 Florida Market
choice 2 2nd Street
choice 3 2nd & N/M
choice 4 2nd Street/NOMA

(2nd Street is the true place of where the station is not New York Ave or Florida Ave and NOMA is vague it can mean 3/4 of the city unless there is going to be a campaign on educating the city to understand that Noma means the area north of Union Station and not everything north of Mass Ave it should be omitted until the name is firmly grounded in the area)

Smithsonian = West Smithsonian or National Mall South (As others have said Smithsonian station is not a true representation of the Smithsonian it is located only by a few buildings of the Smithsonian. Federal Triangle and L'Enfant Plaza are located near more museums than Smithsonian is.

Foggy Bottom GWU = Foggy Bottom (anyone got a better idea that is not a business or college)

by kk on Oct 5, 2011 12:59 pm • linkreport

If you are going to use a number street, you have to indicate quadrant. That further clutters the names.

by spookiness on Oct 5, 2011 1:59 pm • linkreport

It should be NOMA/Eckington or NOMA/Capitol North or simply just NOMA

by Anon on Oct 5, 2011 2:02 pm • linkreport

Waterfront SEU = Waterfront (this is a true description of the area and there is no need to put SW infront of Waterfront due to no other area having a station near the water

We might want to rename the Stadium-Armory station to Hill East Waterfront once that area is redeveloped.

Also I hear people refer to the Georgetown waterfront far more often than the SW one, so for clarification, I think the station needs to be SW Waterfront.

CAPTCHA word has an old style "s" that looks like an "f"--what am I supposed to do with that?

by m on Oct 5, 2011 2:03 pm • linkreport

m: You can get 1 letter wrong on the CAPTCHA. Plus, if you've filled out several right before, sometimes it gives you 1 word it knows and 1 it doesn't (to learn new words) and the latter won't count toward whether you pass or not.

by David Alpert on Oct 5, 2011 2:24 pm • linkreport

How about Castle instead of Smithsonian? If a tourist is lost on the Mall, that is how I tell them to find the station.

by MikeH on Oct 5, 2011 2:33 pm • linkreport

Waterfront - SEU.
Navy Yard
New York Ave. - Florida Ave. - Gallaudet U. Delaware Ave (Ok, that's feticious)
Smithsonian National Mall
Foggy Bottom - GWU

Oh, and can I beg again for the GGW renaming game?

by Jasper on Oct 5, 2011 3:01 pm • linkreport

Many thanks to David for writing this article and for all the great feedback. As @Tony Goodman mentioned, the NoMa BID's original station name propsal was NoMa/Gallaudet U, which was also endorsed by the surrounding residential communities and the university. We hope that WMATA will embrace this suggestion. Just to clarify, the NoMa BID does not want its business name on the station, but rather the neighborhood name. Like other communities that have both a Metro station and a business improvement district (Crystal City, Rosslyn, Ballston, Mt. Vernon Triangle), the NoMa BID derives its name from the pre-existing neighborhood name, which was coined nearly a decade before the BID was formed.

by Jamie Bratt - NoMa BID on Oct 5, 2011 3:19 pm • linkreport

Am I the only one here who's frankly done with station re-names? Yes, short and sweet is best, but do we really need to nit-pick this? Shouldn't we be more concerned about things like improving Metro in general.

Just my two cents...

by John M on Oct 5, 2011 3:20 pm • linkreport

@Matt Johnson: I, personally, don't hate NoMa for being made-up. I hate it for being annoying and useless. First off, noma is a type of gangrene (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noma_(disease). But using it in the way the BID intends, "NoMa" stands for "North of Massachusetts." HALF THE FREAKING CITY is North of Massachusetts! The metro station is 3/4 of a mile away from Massachusetts! The name tells you nothing!
Call it Union Yards, call it Tiber Creek, call it 2nd & M, call it Swampoodle. But please don't call it NoMa.

by tom veil on Oct 5, 2011 4:18 pm • linkreport

Actually, Swampoodle isn't really a valid name for the area between Eckington, Union Station, and Gallaudet. Swampoodle's northern border was K St, and included the present-day GPO, Union Station, and Gonzaga HS. Most of these only barely fit in the bounds of what most people call "NoMa" (although they are do more or less fall within the BID's official boundary, which is much larger than Swampoodle was). If we were to pick which Metro station best represented the former Swampoodle neighborhood, it would unquestionably be Union Station.

"B&O Freight Terminal" would probably be the most accurate name for the area around the Metro station, given that the area was more or less covered in freight yards and related industrial uses. However, the industry/freight yards no longer exist, and since the neighborhood never really had much of an identity as a place (it was an in-between space, and nobody lived there), a new name was devised for it.

Honestly, I have no idea what was there before the freight yards, or if that community had a name.

by andrew on Oct 5, 2011 4:47 pm • linkreport

@tom veil:
You're right. I can definitely see how that could be confusing. And, actually, I have seen tourists (and some locals) confused by other names in the system. Here are a few examples:
  • Cleveland Park: It's not in Cleveland. I've definitely seen tourists get off there looking for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
  • West Falls Church: A lot of the region is west of Falls Church. Clearly, some people looking for Vienna get off there because they know that Vienna is west of Falls Church, so this must be the stop, right?
  • Anacostia: 98% of people in the region believe that "Anacostia" is synonymous with "East of the River", and therefore some people bound for Minnesota Ave, Deanwood, Benning Road, Capitol Heights, Congress Heights, and Southern Ave get off at the wrong stop all the time.
  • Georgia Avenue-Petworth: Georgia Avenue stretches all the way from Florida Avenue to the Patuxent. It's a really long street. Four different stations are under Georgia Avenue (and Silver Spring is 2 blocks away).
  • Vienna: I once saw a couple get off here and ask where Mozartplatz was. They were upset that they couldn't find any wienerschnitzel, too.
  • And to get off the rail system, I once met an Australian tourist on the 80s bus who wanted to see the volcano at Mount Rainier.

Look, NoMa is a name, whether it makes sense to you or not. And people refer to it as such, without getting confused all the time.

Dupont Circle is larger than just the traffic circle at 19th & Connecticut. Southern Avenue is a long street that has a station named after it. King Street stretches halfway across Fairfax County. People manage.

And, by the way, NoMa is perfectly aligned with the other districts named in that format.

  • SoHo is one of the places that started this trend. I'm sure people don't confuse Tribeca, Battery Park City, the Lower East Side, or Staten Island with it, despite that those are all also south of Houston Street.
  • SoMa in San Francisco refers to a specific compact district south of Market Street, which is one of the longest and most important streets in San Francisco. Other neighborhoods (like the Castro) also lie south of Market, without problem.
  • Seattle's SoDo is south of Downtown. But it's not everything south of Downtown, just the part immediately south of it. People cope.
  • Atlanta's North Avenue is a major east-west street that stretches across the city. But most people know that SoNo is just the area between Downtown and Midtown (formerly known as Bedford-Pine).
  • Bostonians get by with SoWa. People from Denver know where LoDo is.

*I was kidding about all those examples. I've never met anyone who was confused about where those places were. I've also never met anyone who confused NoMa for any other neighborhood north of Massachusetts.

by Matt Johnson on Oct 5, 2011 5:06 pm • linkreport

well, being the name of a form of gangrene that attacks the face is a very good reason for not naming anything noma.

by Tina on Oct 5, 2011 5:13 pm • linkreport

@ Matt:They were upset that they couldn't find any wienerschnitzel, too.

Four stops further @ Ballston, Cafe Tirolo sells very good schnitzels.

And as for long streets with stations named after them, it might be Braddock that wins (or GA Ave). It even has an unpaved stretch in Loudoun county near its end.

by Jasper on Oct 5, 2011 5:56 pm • linkreport

If they can call Woodley Park "Adams Morgan", then they can call the New York Avenue station "Swampoodle North" or "Eckington".

New York Avenue is a very long road. The Mt Vernon Square Convention Center stop could equally well be called "New York Avenue".

by Turnip on Oct 5, 2011 6:11 pm • linkreport

Working link to the wiki article on swampoodle:
Swampoodle

NoMa is a copycat marketing name. I vote no.

Given that the Swampoodle neighborhood's demise was partly brought about by public transportation (Union Station construction), I say it would be a fitting tribute to resurrect it.

by wr on Oct 5, 2011 6:59 pm • linkreport

As many have already stated, it should be simple and easy to say. I vote no more than 5 syllables or 3 words maximum. Doesn't Dupont Circle make so much sense?

As for the tourist, is the metro suppose to provide a map of the most common destinations for them? I don't think so, and making things easy so the less smart tourists can figure it out only seems to be changing the system for the lowest common denominator.

If we REALLY cared about making things better for tourist we would change the ticket machines to be somewhat comprehensible.

by Matthew on Oct 5, 2011 11:04 pm • linkreport

The shorter the names can be the better. Look at the Paris metro map most of the names are short and sweet. Someday when Washington has 200 stations we'll appreciate the short simple names even more.

by Jeff Pulford on Oct 6, 2011 12:05 am • linkreport

@ Jeff:Look at the Paris metro map most of the names are short and sweet.

The Paris map is nice and short indeed. Not "Jardin t Palais du Luxembourg/Senate_ENSM-ENA/Obervatoire\EM Lavoiser", but "Luxembourg". Not "Ile de la Cite/Place Lepine-Hospitaux_Ponts de Change&Notre-Dame" but "Cite".

by Jasper on Oct 6, 2011 11:18 am • linkreport

As a new resident of Flats 130, the apartments at the south end of the NY Ave Metro, I certainly consider myself to be living in NoMA, regardless of whether this area was historically Swampoodle or whatever else. The neighborhood is being sold to new residents like myself as NoMA, and no matter how much I can't stand the New York style appelation, it's the name that's being rapidly adopted.

For my money, I'd prefer "NoMA - Near Northeast", subtitled "Gallaudet University". The area on the east side of the Metro tracks is definitely more accurately "Near Northeast".

by Craig on Oct 6, 2011 10:42 pm • linkreport

Station renames are expensive for Metro as they have to redo signs and all the maps, etc. To rename Woodley Park years ago it cost $150,000. At the same time Metro says they do not have enough money for maintenance and need more cash. Stop the renaming and spend the money on the system maintenance. This is a no brainer.

by Mary on Oct 7, 2011 6:34 am • linkreport

The George Washington University deserves to be included in the station name (Foggy Bottom - GWU) because the station is actually within the boundaries of the campus! It is not just near the university, it is ON the main GW campus.

by GWalum on Oct 7, 2011 11:30 am • linkreport


These new name proposals are ridiculous. I agree with Jasper and others: Keep the names as simple as possible -- as the original planners intended. Elegant, simple, clear, concise.

*Waterfront
*Navy Yard
*New York Ave.
*Smithsonian

Additional wayfinding signs can be added in the station and at at station exits to help people find their way.

by dcnative on Oct 7, 2011 3:13 pm • linkreport

I think the point behind the subtitles is to make it bureaucratically possible to leave them off of certain levels of labeling in future decisionmaking processes, without pushing too hard on the status quo right now. Currently, the size of the names threaten to make a lot of labeling and mapping indecipherable... artists can't arbitrarily cut a given name in half. They may, however, eventually be given permission to cut subtitles.

When the system gets this big, and given Metrorail's proven ability to *create* placenames for commercial areas, while it may be in the best minor interest of the system to use preexisting station names, or major interest of the city to use descriptive station names, a higher priority is really just to get them down to a few syllables in order to make them comfortable to say.

Complete nonsense would be fine; If the Emperor of DC renamed every station tomorrow based on what his infant son said to call them, within a few years we would all be calling the area "Bababgub" instead of NoMA.

Bababgub Station
NoMa / Swampoodle Neighborhood
Gallaudet University
Florida Market
Florida Avenue Exit
New York Avenue Exit

or on a map, just:
"Bababgub"

by Anon on Oct 7, 2011 11:29 pm • linkreport

Am so so glad Matt Johnson has joined the pro-NOMA defenders! I defended the NOMA name months back in a different thread on this blog and got poo-poo'd. Nobody can convince me it's not a perfectly fine 4 letter name for the reasons Matt outlined so eloquently. Thank you!

But if Kennedy Center is not going on and Arena Stage might be inappropriate, is it right to add Ballpark? To me, it does seem appropriate somehow, but should we be promoting organized sports (owned by a for-profit entity that's acted fairly rapaciously toward the District) and not a nonprofit and donor-funded arts organization that's contributed a great deal to its neighborhood?

FYI, up until a few years ago, more people in the DC area attended theatrical events and live performances than went to sporting events.

The statistic was from the Helen Hayes Awards organization...it may have tipped more towards sporting events in recent years with increasing popularity of the Nats, the new stadium and hockey as well, but up until recently it was so.

I don't like any of the new proposed names. If anything, make the station names SHORTER not longer people!

Waterfront is just fine. I don't think ballparks, theatres, universities or any sort of businesses should be added to the names.

by LuvDusty on Oct 11, 2011 4:46 pm • linkreport

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