Thursday, September 11, 2008

If It Were Up to Me

If it were up to me, metro stations would only be allowed a maximum of two names. First of all, all you folks out there lobbying to tack this, that and the other on to a metro name are kidding yourselves. Other than the poor metro train operators, no one is using the entire name of the station as they chat about getting off at U Street or Archives. In this day and age when people are abbreviating one syllable words, I have no idea why you think a long station name makes sense.
Secondly, I think we don't give people enough credit. If I want to go somewhere and the website or guidebook tells me to go to this stop, I am going to go to that stop. I am not going to say, "Gosh, that can't be the right stop, it's not called [place I want to visit]." As an example, the Zoo is between two metro stops. One stop has the zoo in the station name (Woodley Park - Zoo). However, a lot of people have figured out that the nice downhill walk from Cleveland Park is preferable. In fact, the station manager has posted signs about how to walk to the zoo, since enough people show up at Cleveland Park who are headed there.
In many cases the add-on names are misleading. My personal favorite is West Falls Church-VT/UVA. Now, having been the designated ride for someone back visiting from Virginia Tech, I actually understand what the designation means. However, doesn't that naming seem to imply that one can get to UVA and Virginia Tech via metro? Actually at specified times there is a bus that goes to both campuses (which are each several hours away).
But it's not just the implication that all these things are right at the top of the escalator that bugs me. After all Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter refers entirely to things that are visible from the top of the escalator, but it is still crazy long. (They actually abbreviate it on the metro map.)
So - stop with the long names.