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Last chance to weigh in on Silver Line station names

Metro's online survey about station names for the new Silver Line to Dulles and Reston will be ending on March 21. Have you filled it out?

Image from WMATA.

This is your chance to push for station names that create a sense of place and tie in to the region's history and geography, rather than a boring, long, hyphenated string of road names.

Here are my picks, versus the official recommendations from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors:

My pickFairfax Board pick
Scotts RunTysons-McLean
Tysons CornerTysons I&II
WestparkTysons Central
Spring HillTysons-Spring Hill Road
WiehleReston-Wiehle Avenue
RestonReston Town Center
HerndonHerndon-Reston West
CoppermineHerndon-Dulles East
Dulles(Not specified)

These names are short, can be used in the names of developments or buildings in the area, and will create a memorable name for the area around the station.

What did you pick?

Michael Perkins serves on the Arlington County Transportation Commission, though the views expressed here are his own. He lives in Arlington with his wife and two children. 


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I'm pretty indifferent to the selections for the "Tysons I&II" station, which don't include any hyphenated options (unlike all of the others, I think). But I'm not sure why this one can't just be Tysons.

The survey seems to be admitting that the long, hyphenated names aren't a great idea: almost all of the suggested options are short, and most eliminate hyphens. The best ones also eliminate road, drive, etc. For some reason, though, Westpark isn't an option--only Westpark Drive. Independently of the suggestion above, I had also written in Westpark.

I'm also okay with the one kind of near McLean being called McLean. Scotts Run sounds nice, but it's not like it's a recognizable landmark or even a street name people would know independently.

Most importantly, by far the best system would be to have only one station containing Tysons, one containing Reston, and one containing Herndon. Anything else is just confusing for no good reason.

by Gray on Mar 18, 2012 12:05 pm • linkreport

[This comment has been deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by selxic on Mar 18, 2012 12:18 pm • linkreport

I picked Scott run because not only are we recognizing a feature that aready existed, but we are creating the name of a place for at least a few decades.

by Michael Perkins on Mar 18, 2012 12:19 pm • linkreport

@Michael Perkins: I think that's a good point. The "Herndon-Dulles East" station seems similar to me. It's not Herndon, and Dulles East is meaningless, but Coppermine could be a distinctive name for the area in the future.

by Gray on Mar 18, 2012 12:29 pm • linkreport

I understand recognizing a feature (a somewhat obscure river that has a road and a park named after it), but I'd argue they aren't creating a place with most of the stations. The place exists and has existed for over 100 years. It's McLean. The Fairfax board picks were boring and need changing and tweaks for various reasons, but too many here often miss something the board did observe' these aren't new places. Metro rail service is connecting communities that have existed for years and are continuing to grow to face the future.

by selxic on Mar 18, 2012 12:45 pm • linkreport

@sexlic: McLean exists, but the station isn't actually in it.

by Gray on Mar 18, 2012 12:51 pm • linkreport

But if we stick to "recognized" names, you end up with stations like Vienna-Fairfax-GMU, which is neither in Vienna or Fairfax or near George Mason University. It's better that we be honest about where stations are actually located, even if it means using a name not everyone's familiar with, much as Maryland did when it named one its exits on the ICC after a village that ceased to exist 100 years ago. It may sound foreign now, but eventually everyone will recognize that name as actually belonging to a real place. And no one will get off at McLean station and end up walking two miles to the actual town center.

by dan reed! on Mar 18, 2012 12:58 pm • linkreport

@selxic: Expanding on my last comment, there are clearly existing communities being connected here. Tysons (i.e. the "I&II" station), Reston, and Herndon are all existing places and should be named as such. Same with Dulles.

The problem there was that the stupid recommended names muddied everything by creating four Tysons stations, two Reston stations, and two Herndon stations--plus a place that doesn't exist, Dulles East. The stations that aren't in existing recognizable communities should have names that help to establish that identity.

And yeah...if the line ran through McLean, it would need a McLean station.

by Gray on Mar 18, 2012 1:00 pm • linkreport

My picks:
1 - McLean
2 - Tysons Corner
3 - Greensboro Park
4 - Spring Hill
5 - Wiehle Avenue (I think just "Wiehle" alone would be weird since it can be difficult for some to properly pronounce as Wheel-EE).
6 - Reston Town Center
7 - Herndon
8 - Innovation Avenue

by Transport. on Mar 18, 2012 1:31 pm • linkreport

For the first station, I wrote in "West McLean", which approximates the situation at West Falls Church and East Falls Church (1) not really giving great access to the central node in that city (the intersection of Broad and Washington Streets), (2) but still adjacent and descriptive.

by Joey on Mar 18, 2012 1:59 pm • linkreport

I had Westpark as Tysons Corner, except I couldn't figure out what to call Tysons 123 / Tysons I&II, so I'd ultimately resigned to also calling the malls' stop Tysons Corner and going with Westpark.

I had Coppermine as Hutchison, simply because the school beside the station has that name. I was tempted to call it Herndon and rename your Herndon as Hattontown, but I don't know that area well enough to know if that's intuitive for folk who live out there.

Otherwise all my station names were the same as yours, verbatim.

by Bossi on Mar 18, 2012 2:28 pm • linkreport

Stop with the g-ddamn hyphens and metro station names. It makes it look like some old society Stamford bride is in charge.

by aaa on Mar 18, 2012 2:46 pm • linkreport

Agreed: tildes for all!

U Street~African~Amer Civil War Memorial~Cardozo

by Bossi on Mar 18, 2012 2:48 pm • linkreport

Maybe we're overlooking something here. Are there any minor campuses of colleges or universities in the vague vicinity of any of these stations?

After all, this is a system that is encouraged to include all such institutions in metro names (by my count, 11 out of the 86 when SEU is removed). And since we have to include them no matter whether they're minor satellite campuses (see: West Falls Church), of exceptionally low quality (SEU), or not particularly close to the station (UMd, Marymount), we'd obviously have to add them to the names. After a hyphen, of course.

by Gray on Mar 18, 2012 3:21 pm • linkreport

Excess station naming, you say:

by Bossi on Mar 18, 2012 3:24 pm • linkreport

For the three Tysons Corner stations (not counting the outer-McLean station which seems ill-located), I went with "Tysons East", "Tysons Central" and "Tysons West". Would have added "Corner" to all of them, but that breaks the 19 character rule. I do better with cardinal directions than proximate street names, but maybe that's just me.

by Clark on Mar 18, 2012 3:51 pm • linkreport

The survey seems to be flawed in that the non-hyphenated, non-street station names are going to split the vote and possibly the bad names will end up winning. A better survey would ask people to rank the options instead of just picking one. I realize that this added burden would reduce survey participation but better to have fewer participants who's opinions are accurately captured than a wider survey capturing crummy data.

by Falls Church on Mar 18, 2012 4:05 pm • linkreport

After this survey closes I would like to see the count for the names selected or written in for each station.

by Sand Box John on Mar 18, 2012 4:07 pm • linkreport

My picks:
1 - Scotts Run
2 - Tysons Galleria
3 - Greensboro Park
4 - Spring Hill
5 - Wiehle Avenue
6 - Reston Town Center
7 - Herndon-Monroe, because that's what we already call that place.
8 - Coppermine

by dcseain on Mar 18, 2012 4:28 pm • linkreport

"What did you pick?"
Nobody, because somebody in accounts receivable with no real knowledge of transportation policy always seems to win with their brackets.

by Kolohe on Mar 18, 2012 8:51 pm • linkreport

I can deal with boring or overly artistic names, but no way the Westpark station should be called "Tysons Central." With Tysons Corner Center at the other station, you're asking for eternal confusion, for tourists and locals alike.

I really think the station at Tysons Corner Center should be called "Tysons Corner Center," regardless of the fact that there's a Galleria there too. It's the commercial center of Tysons Corner, if not geographical.

Tysons-McLean because it's the closest station to McLean (à la Vienna/Fairfax). And the highway signs for the off-ramp to that part of Tysons say "McLean." Some consistency in labeling is good for orientation purposes.

Spring Hill Road and Wiehle Avenue should just be named after the street names (I'd be okay with Westpark Drive as well, but it sounds boring, so I went with Tysons-Westpark, which is also what the bus destination signs already say). This is also what the highway off ramps say.

Reston Town Center is great--just like Tysons Corner Center it is named after the nearest, biggest commercial attraction.

Herndon-Monroe after the park-and-ride lot that's already there, as well as the street (why fix what isn't broken?).

And why not call the last station before Dulles "Innovation Drive"? That's what kind of companies are there, and there's no need to label it Dulles when it's not the airport station.

That's my take. If I were king this would all be so easy. :) (Too many cooks …)

by Omar on Mar 18, 2012 9:48 pm • linkreport

So, to summarize:

Tysons Corner Center
Spring Hill Road
Wiehle Avenue
Reston Town Center
Innovation Drive
Dulles Airport

… now that's a subway line with brief, useful, familiar, unique names and relatively consistent naming conventions! Let's not be too creative with this. It's easy to get carried away.

by Omar on Mar 18, 2012 9:52 pm • linkreport

Not an authority here as I dont't ride the Metro into VA very often, but the Fairfax Board picks are awful. They probably paid a consultant a couple hundred thousand to come up with the dumb and dumber station names, too.

by John Muller on Mar 19, 2012 3:31 am • linkreport

You're all wrong, this convention is better:

West Ronald Reagan McLean
Tysons Corner Center
Tysons Westpark
Spring Hill Road
Ronald Reagan Wiehle Avenue
Reston Town Center
Ronald Reagan's Coppermine
Ronald Reagan Washington Dulles Airport

by Matt Glazewski on Mar 19, 2012 7:51 am • linkreport

The stations names should be imagined as coming through a crummy public address system in a crowded train where you can't quite see the sign. That is, they should sound distinctive. The Fairfax Board's proposed repetition of Tyson's, Reston, and Herndon will all sound alike.

by Goety on Mar 19, 2012 8:34 am • linkreport

I like your picks. They're much more iconic.

by Francis on Mar 19, 2012 8:39 am • linkreport

What's the point, since they will all sound the same over the subway car's intercom.

by Crickey7 on Mar 19, 2012 9:53 am • linkreport

@Crickey7: "What's the point, since they will all sound the same over the subway car's intercom."

It's too bad they won't also be written anywhere, isn't it?

by Gray on Mar 19, 2012 9:57 am • linkreport

Is Wiehle pronounced 'wheel' or 'while'

by Tim on Mar 19, 2012 10:34 am • linkreport

@Tim: No, it's not.

by Gray on Mar 19, 2012 10:41 am • linkreport

I believe it's supposed to be pronounced "wheelie".

In practice it will be pronounced like Grosvenor and L'Enfant: Any way the speaker wants to pronounce it.

by Matt Johnson on Mar 19, 2012 11:05 am • linkreport

@Tim and @Matt Johnson:

I live near Wiehle Ave, and "wheelie" is correct, though mat is right -- it'll end up like Grosvenor and L'Enfant and Judiciary, any way the announce wants.

by dcseain on Mar 19, 2012 11:39 am • linkreport

Thanks. I hadn't even considered that pronunciation.

by Tim on Mar 19, 2012 2:19 pm • linkreport

Most people say it "wheelie," although according to a friend of mine who's lived in Reston since the 1970s the man after whom the road is named pronounced it like "wiley" (like Wile E. Coyote).

I'm not a fan of the "Westpark" suggestion because Westpark Drive is a fairly long road by Tysons standards and a large part of the corporate park along Westpark Drive is not within walking distance of any of the proposed stops. The new Beltway Express Lane exit now under construction that will connect to the bridge between Tysons I & II is being called the "Westpark Connector," for example, although I think the signs will say "Westpark Drive."

I understand why they don't want to refer to commercial entities in the station names, but the stop located between the two malls seems like a prime location for an exception to that policy. Even just "Tysons (Malls)" would work.

by Rich on Mar 19, 2012 2:26 pm • linkreport

I attended one of the FCDOT meetings about the Silver Line. It was mostly about how Phase II is going to be funded, but they did speak about the station naming (and even had computers set up so people could vote in the survey). They said that over 13k people had responded to the survey (and about half of those were from Fairfax County).

Everyone I spoke to at FCDOT "got it" that names should be brief (and that prepending a number of stations with the same word -- "Tysons" or "Reston" -- was insane). Two supervisors (and the chairwoman) were there to hear. So, I think we'll see something much reasonable out of the board this time.

I also sent an email to my supervisor describing my frustration in Florence last year where all of the city stations were prepended with Firenze. I wanted to go to the "downtown"/main/whatever station... Is that Firenze Campo di Marte or Firenze SMN? (And, what the hell is SMN?? Oops, SMN is a saint... maybe I shouldn't have said "hell"?) Frustrating!

by rogerwilco on Mar 19, 2012 9:14 pm • linkreport

Wiehle - We-UH-lee

Working just of exit 10 from the toll road, I can say first hand that there are few, if any, points of solace to this area. This area is a mecca of sorts to low-density, FAR < .1, exurban, "Fringeville" as you can get in some areas. There may be some hope for the Reston Town Center proposed station, but the others, it will be a long time before any of them truly embrace urban habitability principles. I shudder to think that I could theoretically drive past Branch Avenue Metro Station, and an hour later drive almost to work and see another failure that resembles it.

By the way, Coppermine is the name of a road. The poor originality of the naming convention is on the same order of magnitude as the maintenance shortfall of the existing roads just in the northern part of Virginia alone.

Please forgive my biting criticism. That just comes from being a realist who understands how massive the exodus will soon be from northern Virginia for the working class - which ironically is just close enough to be considered local with its 40+ minute commutes, but far enough away that there is still an almost tangible "class gap" - and moving into many a more apartment and affordable housing unit closer to the actual city.

The first full year of ridership data may ultimately determine the effectiveness of Metro (aside from weekend and Friday night uses) for the Silver Line.

To end up back on track, the station names are slightly less than original. I came up with a few creative ones, but I didn't jot them down, unfortunately.

by C. R. on Mar 20, 2012 2:40 am • linkreport

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