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You’re On The (Metro) Map A year in Metro-map politics

Metrorail hasn’t gotten a new map since its 1976 opening. But when efforts began last year, it turned out that drawing the lines was the easy part. More contentious: What to name the stations? The question is philosophical. Should the map recognize things that already attract people, or should it direct people to places that need more attention? Having a stop named after your neighborhood, university, or sports stadium, after all, is a powerful mark of legitimacy (which explains why so many distant locales have been gerrymandered onto station names over the years). But the primary purpose of a map is helping people find their way around. In the end, the board decided to shorten most station names, but add subtitles to tout nearby attractions without cluttering the look. That left space for some entities that had grown up since the last redesign—Nationals Park and NoMa are now officially on the map. Others that made bids for inclusion, like the neighborhood of Park View, didn’t quite make the cut.

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