Friday, July 08, 2011
(Washington D.C. - WAMU) With a new subway line in Northern Virginia on the horizon, Metro is revamping its iconic map. And since it’s going to be changing the map, Metro is also looking to change the names of some of its stations.
At a Metro focus group, a facilitator asks randomly selected riders what they think of the current station names. The riders give their opinions, and then the facilitator repeats them back. One complaint crops up so often that the facilitator begins to sound like a broken record.
"Uh huh, they're long," says one facilitator. "They're very long. On the shorter side of things? Uh huh. Too long."
In some riders' opinions, one of the worst ones is the U Street-African American Civil War Memorial-Cardozo stop.
Riders also say landmarks should not be included in the name of a station, unless the site is within walking distance
"Like if I'm a mother with two kids and a stroller, and I can't get there easily, don't put it in the title," says one rider.
Another poorly names station: Woodley Park/Zoo/Adams Morgan.
"Oh yeah!" exclaims another rider. "That's the worst."
"I feel sorry for people who think they're going to be in Adams Morgan when they get off there," chimes in another rider.
Metro says it wants to use the public's opinions in shaping its new station names and, by extension, its new identity.
But what riders want is often at odds with what the neighborhoods around the stations want, especially neighborhood businesses, which see station names as a marketing tool.
Friday, January 28, 2011
(Washington D.C. - David Schultz, WAMU) Last year, D.C. unveiled its nifty new bike sharing service, Capital Bikeshare, which allows riders to swipe a credit card and rent a bike for a few hours from dozens of street corner bike-sharing stations across the city.
It was billed as one of the crowning achievements of former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and his prolific transportation guru Gabe Klein. (Ironically, the launch ceremony for Capital Bikeshare was held just days after Fenty's devastating primary election loss to the city's current mayor, Vincent Gray.)
At the time, one of the big questions that many people a few people I had was: who is Capital Bikeshare for? Is it really going to significantly improve transportation in Washington? Or is it going to be used only by committed cyclists and/or tourists looking for a quick way to museum hop?
Well, some early data is in and it looks like my skepticism may have been unfounded. As the map to the left shows, most of the trips taken by Capital Bikeshare have been within D.C.'s residential areas - not around the touristic mecca of the National Mall.