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Gallaudet doesn't want its name in Metro station subtitle

Gallaudet University students are mobilizing to oppose the idea of moving their university's name into a subtitle on the nearby Metro station. They're creating a petition in favor of "NoMa-Gallaudet U."

Photo by the author.

At lunchtime on Monday, students gathered on campus for a brief talk by student body government leaders and Fred Weiner, the Executive Director of Program Development for the university. Most students attending raised their hands when asked if they use the Metro station.

Speakers gave a brief history of Gallaudet's involvement with the station. Gallaudet has been in the neighborhood since before much of the neighborhood existed. Recently, the school has been working hard to reassert its connections to the surrounding community. One way to strengthen those connections is visibility. To that end, the leaders want to keep the university's name on the local Metro station as a primary element.

Weiner noted that the WMATA Board would be discussing station name changes on Thursday. The public will not be able to speak, but a public hearing will follow on October 27th.

In the meantime, the school will be setting up a petition online advocating for the name "NoMa/Gallaudet U." Weiner noted that "members of the DC Council," which likely means at least Ward 5 council member Harry Thomas, Jr., favor this name over DDOT's proposal, "New York Ave-NoMa" with a subtitle of "Gallaudet U."

The Gallaudet University community believes that theirs should not be the only university in the region to have its name used as merely a subtitle for a station, rather than a part of the primary heading. Actually, 2 other stations with universities on their names, West Falls Church-VT/UVA and Vienna/Fairfax-GMU, also are slated to receive subtitles. However, 8 other stations with universities will not.

David suggested using subtitles for all stations with points of interest, including universities. Interestingly, Weiner mentioned that the university was promised from the beginning that their name would always be part of the station name. While making it part of a subtitle would technically keep that promise, I believe it would not be in the spirit of such an agreement to relegate the school's name to a secondary role.

What do you think?

Update: The Program Development office at Gallaudet University sent this comment:

When the station was in the planning stages, I. King Jordan, president of Gallaudet at the time, was on the advisory board that supported establishing the station. He participated in the groundbreaking and was in attendance at the opening. Some of the WMATA meetings regarding the station were held at Gallaudet. At one such meeting, the chair of the board, Gladys Mack, committed that Gallaudet would be in the name of the station. Furthermore, advertisers have used the station to target the deaf community, knowing that it is heavily trafficked by Gallaudet students, staff and faculty.
Geoff Hatchard lived in DC's Trinidad neighborhood. The opinions and views expressed in Geoff's writing on this blog are his, and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer. 


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Stupid, stupid, stupid. All the names, including the current one, sucks.

I stand by my earlier suggestion. Name the nearest intersection to the station after someone relevant. "James Square". The founder of the college. Some dude who was famous for his diner 57 years ago. Honestly, it doesnt matter as long as the name is easy to say.

Now name the station after the square.

"Next Stop, James Station"

In 4 years, nobody will remember it was ever called anything else.

by JJJJJ on Oct 11, 2011 3:45 pm • linkreport

Any name including the hipster-contrived 'NoMa' term should be rejected.

by NoMas on Oct 11, 2011 4:03 pm • linkreport

My thoughts on the whole issue:
1. GWU, Catholic, and UDC should be in the names of their local Metro stations, since the stations are right on campus.
2. By contrast, it's nuts to have Metro stations referencing the satellite campuses of VT/UVa and GMU. What's next, Woodley Park-Syracuse? Dupont-JHU? Clarendon-GU? Delete them.
3. The too-far-to-walk campuses of AU, UMd, and MU also don't belong in station names. The students know where they are, and the rest of us aren't going to have a pleasant Metro experience unless we know about the shuttle buses to campus. Delete them.
4. That leaves Howard and Gallaudet -- a short walk from the station and the only really famous feature of each station's neighborhood. This, in my mind, is what the subtitles are for.

by tom veil on Oct 11, 2011 4:13 pm • linkreport

Recently, the school has been working hard to reassert its connections to the surrounding community.

O RLY? Perhaps they could start by building a sidewalk on their eastern border with Trinidad.

...that being said, "NoMa/Gallaudet" is an eminently more sensible name than anything involving New York Avenue.

by Stephen Smith on Oct 11, 2011 4:15 pm • linkreport

As long as you don't say Gal-YOU-det, we can leave it as-is. And "NoMa"--gag.

by Paul on Oct 11, 2011 4:17 pm • linkreport

I understand the Galludet community feels strongly about this. But if you're gonna do an "anti-subtitle" protest, wouldn't it be better served had the school been w/in walking distance of the station in question? I don't get the point of the student protest, especially when they are in favor of a made up name in the first place.

I think the people so focused on the NoMA signage like it because it sounds nice, not that it adds anything of value to a transit users experience.

by HogWash on Oct 11, 2011 4:22 pm • linkreport

Stephen: If you'd like to help work on ways to help the university and Trinidad work more closely together, let me know, and I'll get you in touch with some of the people who are discussing groups that plan to meet more in the future to work on town/gown relations.

by Geoffrey Hatchard on Oct 11, 2011 4:22 pm • linkreport

@Tom, the distance from HU's campus to metro is waaaay much shorter than NYAveMetro to Galludet.

by HogWash on Oct 11, 2011 4:24 pm • linkreport

Technically neither of the GMU stops serve sattelite campuses but the Law School (at Va. Square) and the main undergrad campus (at Vienna, which its issue is the campus is 5 miles away but thats a different discussion) but I think it should be all one way the other. Either all schools get subtitles or nothing or inclusion in the name.

by Canaan on Oct 11, 2011 4:26 pm • linkreport

Back in the mists of time, Metro made a big deal out of universities as traffic generators. Thinking was that adding the name to the stop would encourage people to ride Metro. Well, mission accomplished. We've been stuck with the results ever since--inertia being one of the public sector's main exports. The most pathetic "legacy" is Southeastern University. And now they want to add hospitals too. Ugh. Enough. Just name it after the neighborhood or a major cross street.

by Paulus on Oct 11, 2011 4:32 pm • linkreport

I think GW and CUA names should stay on the station as they are immediatly adjecent to the stations. I think Howard and Galludet should be subtitles as they are near the station. AU is actually far enough away that I don't think it should even be on the Tenleytown station name (I went to AU by the way), nor do I think any of the other college names should be on stations as they are all too small (in relationship to the other things that people may be using that station for) or too far away.

by nathaniel on Oct 11, 2011 4:50 pm • linkreport

The university is too far from the station.

by Omar on Oct 11, 2011 5:43 pm • linkreport

Metro should be mindful of Galludet's preferences but should make a decision that benefits WMATA.

Get rid of these "special interest" station names or banish them to subtitles. Better to just have none and live with boring station names.

by WRD on Oct 11, 2011 6:31 pm • linkreport

Only GW deserves having its name on its station without a subtitle since the stop is actually on the campus itself. Otherwise subtitle or none.

by Phil on Oct 11, 2011 6:37 pm • linkreport

Some stations are named after very long roads (such as New York Avenue). But no station is named Underpass, even though many stations are located near underpasses. So let's compromise on the question of Galluadet vs Gallaudet on the signage by tabling that whole idea and, instead, renaming the New York Avenue station "Underpass". After all, its underpass scores well on the scales for elegance, history, texture, lighting, accommodation, strength (judging by the heaps that roll over it), and seepage.

by Turnip on Oct 11, 2011 6:43 pm • linkreport

Make all Universities a subtitle. Metro Stations should have a name that reflects clarity, not businesses that may be around it (even as non-profit as they may be).

All station names should be 5 syllables or 3 words max.

by Matthew on Oct 11, 2011 6:55 pm • linkreport

George Washington does deserve to be on the Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro station signage since the station is actually located within the main GW campus. Otherwise, go back to the original station name - George Washington University. More people associated with GW use the station than just residents of Foggy Bottom!

by GWalum on Oct 11, 2011 7:06 pm • linkreport

Yes, all the universities should be consistent. If we're doing them as dashes, okay, though I do prefer the look of the universities as subtitles. Singling out Gallaudet is poor form. And neighborhood names make better station names, so if NoMa is what we're going with for the neighborhood (as opposed to Swampoodle) then, by the power vested in me, I declare that the metro should share the portmanteau.

by Patrick on Oct 11, 2011 7:10 pm • linkreport

NoMa is silly. Why not NY Ave if it needs to be short? I like having a landmark associated with the name. For tourists and folks who don't travel that line often, it's helpful.

by Erin on Oct 11, 2011 7:18 pm • linkreport

Put Gallaudet in the subtitle, and figure out a name for the station identifying the neighborhood if it's not going to be NoMa.

Sorry Gallaudet, but unless the station is on campus, the university should be in the subtitle. Otherwise, what's to stop every university in the area from being in the metro station title? And then what's to stop every important destination from being in the title? It's a slippery slope that we can do without.

by DAK4Blizzard on Oct 11, 2011 8:01 pm • linkreport

Hogwash: Just so you know, the walk from U of MD station to U of MD campus is much longer than the walk from Gallaudet and it's station.

by mark on Oct 11, 2011 10:26 pm • linkreport

If the place isn't visible when you get off the station escalator, the name shouldn't be on the station. With all due respect to our CM from Ward 1, I believe it's CM Graham who started this 'play with the names of Metro stations'. Who'd have ever thought of the Woodley Park Station as having anything to do with Adams-Morgan before Jim got Metro to add the designation? I mean, my God, you have at least 2 other neighborhoods (Sheridan-Kalorama and Cleveland Park, and maybe even Dupont Circle) which are far closer to this station than is Adams-Morgan! But I think that started this trend ... 'cause I don't remember any odd ones before that one ... Which quickly got followed by 'U Street - Cardozo - Civil War Memorial' being pushed by the CM whose place Jim Graham took ... former Ward 1 CM Frank Smith. (Who got a job as director of the organization that was raising the funding for the Civil War Memorial ... right after getting unseated by Jim Graham.)

by Lance on Oct 12, 2011 12:01 am • linkreport

To some, the use of a dash (or minus sign) signals a compound word or expression. The "Zoo" is located somewhat near "Woodley Park"" but is separate and distinct ("Adams Morgan" (or is it really "Adams-Morgan" in this context?) is adjacent, as well, but even further from the Metro station portal.

So, what should be used. Logically, the ugly ampersand fits the bill, but it is ugly and almost always needs a space either side. Is a slash mark the answer? I think not.

So, I suggest those with an interest in the topic consider the "bullet" in lieu of the dashes now used system wide.

And, while we are at it, restore the "Zoo" to a prime time (not a subtitle) at that location. It's not that close, but tourists using Metro need to see it in big type, just as they do for other major attractions such the Mall and Smithsonian.

I will leave the "NoMA" branding question to others, but agree that having it named "New York Avenue" or some abbreviation is misleading.

Incidently, if I am not mistaken the smaller print is prior to the main text of National Airport, so that's not a "subtitle". Not sure what to call it, but if it's a "super title," that should please those that legislated that name change into law some years ago.

by Lindsley Williams on Oct 12, 2011 9:46 am • linkreport

I can definitely see where the students are coming from - they must feel that their school is being diminished (on a regional level) because of the name being placed in a subtitle, while other schools are not being given that same treatment.

Yes, I agree that it's important not to overclutter station names, but universities, which attract thousands of visitors and are major employment centers deserve to be put on titles all the same. UDC, GWU and CUA are right next to their stations, and good for them, but others like AU, Gallaudet, and even GMU deserve a mention on the map.

by John M on Oct 12, 2011 9:51 am • linkreport

Lindsley: You're right to leave Adams Morgan without a hyphen. A prior commenter made a typographical error when including one.

by Geoffrey Hatchard on Oct 12, 2011 10:00 am • linkreport

"wouldn't it be better served had the school been w/in walking distance of the station in question?"

"The university is too far from the station."

It is at most a direct 7-minute walk from the NY Ave Metro station to Gallaudet University via M Street (M Street exit to GU 7th Street pedestrian gate). Students, faculty, and staff take this walk daily.

by Anonymous on Oct 12, 2011 10:10 am • linkreport

@Geoffrey H. 'Lindsley: You're right to leave Adams Morgan without a hyphen. A prior commenter made a typographical error when including one.

I'm surprised you don't know that Adams-Morgan with the hyphen is the traditional formal name for this area created by District government fiat in 1958. It's only recently (maybe less than 10 years now) that people have started leaving the hyphen out. Personally, I think the symbolism is portrays ... joining the white and black communities in one single neighborhood is important to leave it in ... even if it does require one more key stroke ...

"The name Adams Morgan, once hyphenated, is derived from the names of two, formerly segregated area elementary schools—the older, all-black Thomas P. Morgan Elementary School (now defunct) and the all-white John Quincy Adams Elementary School.[1] Pursuant to the 1954 Bolling v.

Sharpe Supreme Court ruling, District schools were desegregated in 1955. The Adams-Morgan Community Council, comprising both Adams and Morgan schools and the neighborhoods they served, was formed in 1958. The city drew boundaries of the neighborhood through three preexisting neighborhoods – Washington Heights,[2] Lanier Heights, and Meridian Hill – naming the resulting area after both schools."

by Lance on Oct 12, 2011 10:32 am • linkreport

sorry, I forgot to post the reference to my quote:

by Lance on Oct 12, 2011 10:33 am • linkreport

@Mark, yeah you do have a point about U-Md stop. I would be fine with it being in the subtitle as well. Years ago when I was considering school there, I thought it would be easy to hop off the metro and be on campus. clearly, I was wrong.

@Anonymous It is at most a direct 7-minute walk from the NY Ave Metro station to Gallaudet University via M Street

Maybe I have my bearings totally wrong but that seems a bit off. 7-10 minutes is about the length of time it takes you to get from Trader Joe's (West End) to Whole Foods (GWU) and that's with a very brisk walk.

But as I said, bearings could be out of sync.

by HogWash on Oct 12, 2011 1:20 pm • linkreport

GWalum: "Otherwise, go back to the original station name - George Washington University."

I'm not sure where you got the information, but that was never the station name. It has always been Foggy Bottom-GWU. As Zachary Schrag notes in "The Great Society Subway" (p257) the name "Foggy Bottom" was originally chosen, and WMATA expanded it to "Foggy Bottom-GWU" in honor of the university.

by Meredith on Oct 12, 2011 2:46 pm • linkreport

GGW spends way too much time on station names.

by JustMe on Oct 12, 2011 2:58 pm • linkreport

There should be 2 new rules to avoid this nonsense:

1. A rule banning satellite campuses from the map. The map should also be restricted to four-year colleges ONLY.

Primarily because it's totally unnecessary since they crowd the map and the relatively few people who visit these "campuses" should know where to get off anyway. Not to mention it adds confusion. 2 GMU's?!? Another thing is that it's inconsistent. As someone mentioned above, where's John's Hopkins and Syracuse? Where's the Howard Law School (not even a 5 min walk from Van Ness)?

2. The school should be within a 1.5 mile radius of the station.

It's really idiotic to have a station called Vienna/Fairfax-GMU when the school is over 5 miles away!

Following these rules would cut:

GMU (both of them)

and leave:


which would make more sense and the school initials or name should be remain in the full station name.

by King Terrapin on Oct 12, 2011 4:13 pm • linkreport

@Hog Wash

The Fla/NY/Gallaudet metro stop is a short walking distance from Gallaudet University campus, if you take the M street then you would only cross 4 streets to get the metro stop walking from the 7th street gate on campus. So yes it is a short walk.

by Jonathan on Oct 12, 2011 4:46 pm • linkreport


Crossing 4 streets in some parts of town will get you through more than one Metro station (and sometimes into another neighborhood). Just because something 'only 4 blocks from a Metro stop' isn't good enough a reason to name that Metro stop for it. That Metro stop should be named for one of the landmarks actually at that Metro stop ... for example 'NY Ave and Florida Ave' ...

by Lance on Oct 12, 2011 7:25 pm • linkreport

Jonathan: I don't agree with the commenter that says roads nearby are landmarks. If one was familiar with the area around the station, one might name landmarks that are actually right there.

by Geoffrey Hatchard on Oct 12, 2011 7:27 pm • linkreport

@HogWash, Oh my god, a 7-10 minute walk to and from GU and NY Ave Metro Station is not going to KILL you. Everyday students, faculty, and staff take this walk everyday all the time! Spoiled.

by . on Oct 12, 2011 8:40 pm • linkreport

@Geoffrey, I thought of that but what's there in respect to landmarks that's permanent? I thought of 'ATF' or 'FedEX', but neither may be there in 20 years. (And the second, FedEX,carries a whole slew of other issues revolving around the fact that it's commercial and that means 'naming rights'). Look around at more established countries with more established undergrounds and you'll find station names such as 'Kings Cross' and 'Les Invalides' ... all named for landmarks that aren't going anywhere. While we may have this equivalent in places like the stations near the Mall or even in places like the Dupont Circle Metro station, I can't think of anything similar in the vicinity of NY Ave. and Florida ... at least not anything that's really at the metro stop (and no, Gallaudet may be accessible via that metro stop but it's not at that metro stop), so yes the only thing left, until such time that a landmark that is permenant comes about at that stop, it's best to 'leave it open' by giving it a geographical context name instead of trying to force it to fit into the mold of naming for nearby landmarks by considering a far off landmark.

by Lance on Oct 13, 2011 8:33 am • linkreport

Let's name the station NY Avenue-Ibiza and move on.

by Turk on Oct 13, 2011 8:55 am • linkreport

Regarding landmarks, the station is practically adjacent to the Union Market/Florida Avenue Market as well as Uline Arena. Either could be associated with a station, if using a landmark is a priority.

by Geoffrey Hatchard on Oct 13, 2011 9:21 am • linkreport

First of all, what's NoMa stand for? I could not figure that out.

by JML on Oct 13, 2011 9:41 am • linkreport

JML: It stands for North of Massachusetts Avenue.

by Geoffrey Hatchard on Oct 13, 2011 9:42 am • linkreport

Gallaudet is three blocks from the metro. How out of shape do you have to be to think that's "too far?"

I like having the named of universities, hospitals, and other points of interest in the names of the stations. It makes it easier to get places, especially for visitors.

by Berto on Oct 13, 2011 10:54 am • linkreport

Hogwash asks: "wouldn't it be better served had the school been w/in walking distance of the station in question?"

Is 12 minutes really that bad?

by Graypilgrim on Oct 13, 2011 10:54 am • linkreport

@Geoffrey, "the station is practically adjacent to the Union Market/Florida Avenue Market as well as Uline Arena" ...

If it's that close to either of these, then yes, those are appropriate landmarks ... assuming the plans to build over the Florida Avenue Market have been shelved and anyone actually remembers the Uline Arena ... Wasn't that where the Beatles performed once? The problem with landmarks in that area is that it really fell so far that what's going in now is really a very new area with no connections to its past and with no real landmarks of its own. I mean, if we're going to rely on something as long gone as the Uline Arena than why not just call the Metro Stop 'Swamp Poodle' ... isn't that what this area was called back when it was a neighborhood and not the commercial area that has risen out of its ashes?

by Lance on Oct 13, 2011 11:55 am • linkreport

Geoffrey- are u teasing me. I do not see any nearby Mass Ave near the station for NoMa to be stand as for North of Mass Ave!

by JML on Oct 13, 2011 12:14 pm • linkreport

JML: No, I am not. See here.

by Geoffrey Hatchard on Oct 13, 2011 12:17 pm • linkreport

NoMa is the name of the office district that is located in that area. The BID (NoMa BID) was instrumental in getting a station built at that location (in 2004).

While some don't like the NoMa name, it is called that by many. It is named in the same vein as SoHo in New York (South of Houston), SoMa in San Francisco (South of Market), and SoNo in Atlanta (South of North [Ave]).

The Massachusetts being referred to in this case is Massachusetts Avenue, which forms the southern boundary of the BID. It runs in front of Union Station.

Read more about it:

by Matt Johnson on Oct 13, 2011 12:20 pm • linkreport

How out of shape are people who think the three blocks between the metro and campus are "too far?"

I like having landmarks like schools and hospitals in the station names. It makes it easier to plan trips and easier for visitors.

by Berto on Oct 13, 2011 10:26 pm • linkreport

Of course Gallaudet should remain part of the primary name of the station. I agree with others that it was darn silly of those universities such as James Madison and George Mason and AU and Georgetown (and to an extent, Gallaudet) to locate their campuses so far away from the Metro.

The station at U-Md, to avoid false advertising, should be renamed "Connect to U-Md Shuttle Bus."

For the benefit of first-time visitors who have not been clued in yet, rename those two Red Line stops "Cleveland Park-Going TO the Zoo" and "Woodley Park-Coming FROM the Zoo," otherwise that big hill from Woodley Park to the Zoo entrance just pisses people off.

And what in the Sam Hill is going on here? I can't find "Southeastern University" anywhere. I think I have a library book I have to return there.

In other words, enough with the monkeying around with station names. Just get the escalators working and the trains running on time.

by Trulee Pist on Dec 22, 2011 11:57 pm • linkreport

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