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With WMATA looking to tighten up the naming conventions for Metro stations and also preparing for a new map thanks to the impending service expansion to Tysons Corner and eventually Dulles, the three local jurisdictions have been encouraged to come up with proposals by the end of this month for any station name revisions they may want. This brought Steve Strauss of DDOT to Monday's ANC 6D meeting, to find out whether the community had any feelings about the names of the four stations within the commission's borders, and in particular whether the ANC had any desire to take a second look at two proposed name changes it supported last year in light of WMATA's recommitment to the notion that station names should be no longer than 19 characters (13 for transfer stations).
Yes, it's time for the Curly W discussion again.
Last December the commission voted to support requests from both the Capitol Riverfront BID and the Nationals to change the station name to Navy Yard-Capitol Riverfront-, but that is well above 19 characters (and would be even worse if the Curly W weren't approved and "Nationals Park" were substituted, as called for in the ANC resolution at the time). The discussion on Monday night centered around whether using the logo would set a dangerous precedent, whether it would be confusing in terms of pronouncing the station name, whether it's de facto advertising, and whether riders with vision impairments would or would not be better served by having a logo versus a spelled-out "Ballpark." Commissioner Andy Litsky was also vocal in wanting some assurance that the Nationals would be paying the estimated $100,000 for the changing of the name of a station, and would not try to argue that the city should pay the cost since the stadium is a public building.
Gregory McCarthy of the Nationals told the commission many of the same things he did back in December: the Curly W is the official logo of a city-owned building, and the team wants the logo to appear on transit signage just as it does on freeway signs around the area. McCarthy also said the team very much wants to promote transit as the best way to get to the stadium, and that having the logo on signs and maps helps to emphasize the connection between Metro and the Nationals year-round. There's also no desire to have any variation of "Nationals Park" in the name, given the possibility that the stadium's naming rights will someday be sold and the name changed.
An initial motion to rename the station Navy Yard-Ballpark failed on a 3-3 vote; after more discussion, a new motion to support Navy Yard- if a logo were allowed, and Navy Yard-Ballpark if not, passed on a 4-2 vote. (Technically, these motions were all about amending the resolution from December, but I'm giving you the blessedly short version.)
I should also note that the Capitol Riverfront BID's recent request to simply rename the station Capitol Riverfront- was briefly mentioned at the start of the discussion, but clearly had zero support from the commission or the audience and was never voted on.
The ANC also voted 7-0 to change Waterfront-SEU to Waterfront-Arena Stage. But the resolution acknowledged that the new station name would be 22 characters long, and so a second resolution was passed on a 4-3 vote asking to rename the station as SW Waterfront if Arena Stage does not get added to the name.
There was a brief discussion as to whether there might be interest in adding Banneker Park to the L'Enfant Plaza station, but there was little support, and recognition that the name would be too long anyway.
All requests for changing station names will first go through the city's evaluation procedures, with the mayor's office then submitting formal recommendations to WMATA.
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David Garber says: (9/13/11 1:34 PM)
Everyone: Thanks for your comments about the Navy Yard Metro name. Since it seemed possible that something ballpark-related will be added to the name eventually, I put forth a motion to rename it Navy Yard - Ballpark ... a name that got a lot of traction on this blog in past discussions. Unfortunately the motion was defeated in a tie vote (one commissioner who agreed with me had to leave the meeting before the vote was called).

At this point, it is up to Metro to decide how they will move forward - and they have also made clear that they do not support corporate logos as part of official station names. At least in this case we have a strong backup.


Daedam says: (9/13/11 3:02 PM)
Thanks for your work, David! While I still think leaving the name as Navy Yard would be fine, I think Navy Yard-Ballpark is a good alternative. It's still short, simple, and easy to say. It would also have the most widespread recognition by potential Metro riders who may not know much about city geography but do know the ballpark.

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