The Park Service Wants “National Mall” on Your Metro Station, WMATA Says No Way
A massive Metro map overhaul has lots of groups arguing over who needs to have travelers pointed their way—Park View, NoMa, the baseball stadium, and Gallaudet University are just a few of those that have made their case this time around. Now, the National Park Service has gotten into the game along with the Trust for the National Mall, arguing that the "Smithsonian" station should share top billing with the park itself, and promising to pay the $120,000 needed to make the change.
The Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority board will consider proposed changes today. Yesterday, the non-profit organization charged with raising money to repair the Mall sent out an email blast exhorting its 10,200-person list to write to one Barbara Richardson, with the WMATA's Customer Service and Operations committee. WMATA spokesman Dan Stessel says they've seen some response, but couldn't quantify it, and adds that Metro staff oppose adding "National Mall" to the name.
"From an operational perspective, designating a single station as the official point of access to the National Mall could have unintended consequences," he wrote last night. "For example, during major events (4th of July, MLK dedication, Jon Stewart rally, to name a few), we go out of our way to encourage customers to access the Mall from stations *other than* Smithsonian, because of capacity constraints. There are no fewer than 6 stations that provide access to the Mall."
Guess it's possible to be too big and too important to merit inclusion on any one station.
As an aside, I was struck by the Trust's strident action on this one; it's usually careful to stick to its fundraising role, and an email blast on a specific legislative proposal does qualify as "lobbying," which is a 501(c)(3) no-no. But Trust president Caroline Cunningham says this is their first such piece of advocacy this year, and she's right that lobbying must compose a "substantial part" of an organization's activities. Hope it was worth it.